McCain’s media love

Adam Doster

I think Ezra Klein is wildly off-base in his assessment of why the media adores John McCain. What very few (male) reporters feel comfortable with is their personal physical courage. Their ability to fare well in a bar fight, or make a credible threat to someone stalking their wife, or endure five years of torture in a Vietnamese prison camp. McCain has something that they don't understand, and that they want. And it's one reason they like him. Because not only does he possess those qualities, but he also appears to like them. And that validation from a tough guy is reassuring. That seems like highly-generalized, unsupported psycho-analysis to me. Another reason, which Jason Zengerle pointed out last month, seems a lot more sensical. The simple explanation is: McCain affords the press access like no other candidate. In the McCain campaign, there’s no barrier between candidate and reporter. If you have a question for McCain, you don’t have to bother going to his press secretary; you simply go ask him. Even in my very short career, I know how annoying it is to work through press flaks. Easy access is incredibly valuable, especially for reporters working on tight deadlines, and probably, reason enough to cut a guy some slack here and there.

Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.
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