Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

In 2000, John McCain was a media darling. He opened up his now-famous “Straight Talk Express” to reporters from all over the country. The media loved every moment of it. This year, McCain again opened up his “Straight Talk Express,” and began what looked like a replay of 2000. Again, the media loved it.

This summer John McCain started getting into trouble. He took on a new chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, who saw the McCain campaign not staying on message, and blamed it primarily on the media’s unfettered access to McCain. Immediately, media were banned from the “Straight Talk Express” and McCain gave few press conferences and interviews. The man who was once the sparkle in the media’s eye quickly became just another presidential candidate.

Since the pick of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate, the tune from the McCain camp has changed even more dramatically. Now, not only are they running against the Obama machine, they are running against the media – the liberal media, that is. And this is not a new stance for republicans to take:

“Ever since Spiro Agnew lambasted the press in 1970 as “nattering nabobs of negativism,” Republicans have reveled in attacking the national media for its so-called “liberal bias.” President George H.W. Bush ran for re-election in 1992 with a bumper sticker that read “Annoy the media: Re-elect Bush.” His son, the current President Bush, trotted before the cameras in 2001 with a copy of Bernard Goldberg’s book on the subject, “Bias,” conspicuously cradled in his hand.” (TIME Online)

What most likely sparked this anti-media sentiment in the McCain camp was his choice of Sarah Palin as his VP. The skepticism about her qualifications and thin resume were written off as attacks by a biased media. McCain hopes to sing the tunes of an elitist media that with reverberate within the American public.

Whether the charges of a “liberal media” are true or not, it has definitely created a new enthusiasm within the GOP base. This is not because Republicans revel in the opportunity to bash the media — it is also because the American public is skeptical of the media in general. According to Gallup, Americans rate Journalists as being less honest than chiropractors – although that is a better score than lawyers. There is a general distaste for journalists, and McCain plans to exploit every ounce of it.

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