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Hullabaloo


Sunday, July 06, 2008

 
Dissing The Man

by digby

Jamison Foser does a full run down on the Clark hissy fit. It's looks even worse when you see it all in one place. What he says here is particularly astute:

Let's pause for a moment to review. According to the news media, if you call John McCain a "hero," but say that heroism doesn't qualify him to be president, you have dishonorably attacked his military service. (Feel free, however, to say the same thing about John Kerry.) And if you criticize McCain's Iraq policies, you are participating in "an organized campaign against John McCain's military service."

But wait! There's more!

The media's knee-jerk defense of McCain doesn't stop at their use of his military service to rule criticism of his Iraq policies out of bounds. It extends to (things having nothing to do with) his age, too. See, if you criticize John McCain for ignoring his own pledge to avoid negative campaigning, the media will quickly announce that you're really attacking his age. That was ridiculous, of course, but McCain aide Mark Salter told them to say it, so they did.

You get the picture: the media is on the verge of declaring any criticism of John McCain off-limits -- even when it isn't really criticism. Even when you call him a "hero," but not quite enthusiastically enough.


Let's pause for a moment to review. According to the news media, if you call John McCain a "hero," but say that heroism doesn't qualify him to be president, you have dishonorably attacked his military service. (Feel free, however, to say the same thing about John Kerry.) And if you criticize McCain's Iraq policies, you are participating in "an organized campaign against John McCain's military service."

But wait! There's more!

The media's knee-jerk defense of McCain doesn't stop at their use of his military service to rule criticism of his Iraq policies out of bounds. It extends to (things having nothing to do with) his age, too. See, if you criticize John McCain for ignoring his own pledge to avoid negative campaigning, the media will quickly announce that you're really attacking his age. That was ridiculous, of course, but McCain aide Mark Salter told them to say it, so they did.

You get the picture: the media is on the verge of declaring any criticism of John McCain off-limits -- even when it isn't really criticism. Even when you call him a "hero," but not quite enthusiastically enough.

One of the hallmarks of the Karl Rove era of GOP politics is that the Republicans aren't particularly subtle about their tactics. They tend to clearly telegraph what they intend to do, though often with the slight wrinkle of accusing the opposition of doing what they plan to do themselves.

That is certainly true of the McCain campaign. In the very memo in which Salter convinced the media to pretend that Obama's criticism of McCain's negative campaigning was an attack on the Arizona senator's age, Salter wrote: "Senator Obama is hopeful that the media will continue to form a protective barrier around him, declaring serious limits to the questions, discussion and debate in this race."

Yes, that's John McCain's senior adviser complaining that the media has formed a "protective barrier" around Barack Obama.


They know how to play the refs just the way the refs love to be played ---flat on their backs, in total submission begging for a tummy rub.

John Amato caught the Andrea Mitchell footage I wrote about earlier in the week and wrote:

Watching the media react to Gen. Wesley Clark was a sight to be seen. The McCain camp basically just had to sit there and laugh at what was happening. Why bother issuing statements and whatnot when major news analysts like Andrea Mitchell can do their work for them? And this blog post about McCain being a Manchurian Candidate by who else–The Politico—didn’t help either.

Andrea furiously threw it in Clark’s face as if he wrote it himself. She also accused Clark of being part of a coordinated effort to attack McCain’s military record.

Andrea: Well, let me point out that some of the critics from the Republican side have pointed out that there seems to be an organized campaign and whether or not you played into this that also on Sunday a liberal blogger…on Americablog wrote…

First of all there’s a factual issue because no one has proved that to my satisfaction that John McCain ever did any propaganda for the enemy

He was an extraordinary man…


Foser gets this quite right, I think, when he points out that this hissy fit over Clark's comments was designed to make any criticism of McCain off limits. He's a hero! How dare you criticize him after all he did for us! It won't entirely succeed, of course, but it puts the media on the defensive and makes them reflexively look for "inappropriateness" in the criticism and makes it necessary for everyone to issue a standard disclaimer saying "John McCain is hero and and I have nothing but respect and admiration for his great sacrifice and leadership but...." Kind of takes the sting out of, it don't you think?

And they also accused the media of being in the tank for Obama, which is a standard "liberal media" charge, but which, at least in some cases, was an observable fact (although I think it had less to do with Obama and more with Clinton) and which now makes them all uncomfortable and susceptible to overreaction the other way. There is a reason why the Republicans laid so low during that period. They knew they could use it to pressure the media once the general election battle was engaged.

It seems to me that the smart thing to do is to relentlessly work the media on their ongoing, decades long sycophancy to McCain and his manly deeds. It's far more embarrassing than a shot-lived trip on Obamamania ever was. I don't see why this should be a one way street.


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