Want To Be Called A “Maverick?” Then You Have To Be A Puppet For The Mainstream Media.

From Howard Kurtz’s column in the WAPO today,

“Seven years ago, as reporters rode around this first primary state on McCain’s campaign bus, chatting up the candidate for hours on end, a romance was born.

“Journalists go weak in the knees around the guy,” wrote Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, who admitted joining the swoon. “McCain is easier to get access to than a Hong Kong hooker,” a Time cover story announced. Ari Fleischer, the spokesman for candidate George W. Bush, complained that “John McCain is a media darling.”

But the relationship has turned decidedly chilly, with reporters denigrating the Republican’s chances and liberal columnists accusing him of selling out. McCain’s partisans say this is all about his unwavering support for the administration’s effort in Iraq.

“The press has decided to view McCain through the prism of a war they almost unanimously oppose,” says Mike Murphy, who was a key adviser in the 2000 campaign. “When McCain deviates from Republican orthodoxy, it’s brave. When McCain deviates from the elite media’s orthodoxy, they write that he’s not brave, which is unfair. There’s a bit of a negative bandwagon going on.”

Fred Barnes, executive editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, similarly disdains reporters “who took the Kool-Aid in 2000. They don’t allow for the notion that you can be a maverick while backing Bush on the war in Iraq. The fact that he is not gratuitously taking shots at Bush has driven the press away.”

From The Conservative Case Against John McCain In 2008, which was written by yours truly and released back on March 15, 2006:

“The mainstream media loves John McCain and they regularly write fawning articles referring to him as a “maverick” and a “straight-talker.” Because of this, McCain polls well among Democrats and Independents.

However, the reason McCain is so well liked by the media is because they’re liberals and they love it when he trashes other Republicans. But, what would happen if John McCain actually became the Republican nominee? The same members of the mainstream media who gush over him today would turn on him in a Minnesota minute and once his great press ended, his poll numbers with Independents and Democrats would start to drop precipitously.”

If you’ll note, that is exactly what has already started happening & it’s because McCain’s popularity has always been built on an informal “deal with the devil mainstream media”. But now that he has been forced to stop regularly trashing Republicans because he needs their support to get the nomination, the press has fallen out of love with him, and his numbers have started to tank.

PS: Have you ever noticed that Joe Lieberman isn’t treated as a “straight talker” and a “maverick” by the press even though he is doing exactly what they loved John McCain for doing? Why? Because his criticisms are aimed at the party that the liberals in the MSM are supporting.

I consult for Duncan Hunter through TCV Media.

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