WORKING THE REFS BEFORE THE REGULAR SEASON EVEN BEGINS
There are a lot of good, skeptical letters in today's New York Times in response to recent op-eds about John McCain. There's also this from Bernard Goldberg, the right-wing operative best-known for the book Bias:
To the Editor:
To the extent that Neal Gabler is right when he states that John McCain is "a darling of the news media," it's not so much because he shares their sense of irony. It's because he's a Republican who is not reliably conservative.
So here's a prediction from someone who’s been a full-time working journalist since 1967: The love affair will end as soon as soon as the general election begins (if not sooner). That's when every gaffe by Mr. McCain will be portrayed by the media as "evidence" that he's old -- really, really old. That's when every grimace will be "proof" that he’s got a hair-trigger temper.
When the Democrats stop beating each other over the head, and one of them starts running in earnest against John McCain, the media will no longer find their "darling" nearly as "ironic" -- or nearly as lovable.
From a media point of view, it's one thing when Senator McCain sticks a finger in a fellow Republican's eye, quite another when he's taking aim at a liberal Democrat.
Hey, Bernie -- here's a thousand bucks I can't afford, which I'll give to the charity of your choice, if an impartial monitor of campaign coverage says after November that anything like this actually happened. It's just not going to happen, and you know it. You're full of it.
But I know that, whether McCain wins or loses, you're going to write a tendentious book after the campaign (like hell you've been "a full-time working journalist since 1967" -- all you've done for years is write tendentious books) in which you'll whine that he was the victim of liberal media bias, even if there are only a handful of examples of harsh treatment of McCain in the mainstream press, or in blogs you're going to pretend are part of the mainstream press, or in comments sections of those same blogs. You're going to be a sore loser or a sore winner, and the truth about the coverage -- which I'm sure will be all too respectful of McCain, with maybe a few exceptions -- won't mean a damn thing to you.
I'm sure you won't read this, but I'm serious -- a thousand bucks. Bet?