Just because the press loves Obama doesn't mean it hates McCain.

Media criticism.
Sept. 23 2008 6:15 PM

McCain Bites the Press

Just because the press loves Obama doesn't mean it hates McCain.

(Continued from Page 1)

Signs that the press corps is untangling itself from its Obama crush are starting to appear. Just last week, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus refused to find moral equivalency between Obama and McCain as she ripped the McCain campaign, calling it "more dishonest, more unfair, more … dishonorable than Barack Obama's." This week, Marcus reverses gear—"rebalancing … the scales," she calls it—to savage the Obama campaign for its recent attacks on McCain. Marcus writes:

Obama has descended to similarly scurrilous tactics on the stump and on the air. ...

Obama has been furthest out of line, however, on Social Security, stooping to the kind of scare tactics he once derided. ...

… Obama's cartoon version of private accounts is not what Bush suggested, and it certainly is not something being peddled by McCain now. …

To Democrats who worry about whether their nominee is willing to do whatever it takes to win: You can calm down.

A smart Politico piece from yesterday by Alexander Burns and Jim VandeHei frames McCain's relationship with the New York Times as one of love-hate—but mostly one of love. When it has served McCain's interests to chum around with Times reporters and give them access, McCain has chummed around with Times reporters and given them access. Now that political advantage can be gained by giving the Times a mouthful of bloody Chiclets, he's ready for that, too.

Where does McCain really stand on the press? Wherever expediency demands. In a July 22 interview, CBS News anchor Katie Couric asked McCain about one of his campaign's videos, which alleged the "media's love affair with Sen. Obama." McCain laughed. When she followed up by asking if he thought he was getting "unfair coverage," McCain replied:

I don't think so. I think … it is what it is. I'm a big boy. And I'm enjoying every minute of the campaigning. And I'm certainly not complaining.

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Please don't wake me until McCain—or Obama—start doing their own griping.

******

I'll happily sleep through Cindy McCain's next critique of the investigative unit that is The View. Of her joint appearance on the show earlier this month with her husband, Cindy said, "In spite of what you see ... in the newspapers, and on shows like The View—I don't know if any of you saw 'The View' yesterday, they picked our bones clean—in spite of what you see, that's not what the American people are saying and what they are believing." Listen to her bleat on Jake Tapper's Political Punch blog. Send wake-up calls to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum; in a future article; or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

Track my errors: This hand-built RSS feed will ring every time Slate runs a "Press Box" correction. For e-mail notification of errors in this specific column, type the word Schmidt in the subject head of an e-mail message, and send it to slate.pressbox@gmail.com.

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.

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