THE SECOND TIME AS FARCE?
On the subject of the McCain campaign's new attack on the media, Michael Crowley of The New Republic makes this fairly obvious point:
The timing is interesting, if you think about it. The McCain team first came after the media hard in the early-mid summer, sneering about Obama Love in the press corps. You'll recall how, back then, Obama had all the momentum in the race and McCain was looking for a way to change the dynamic. Sound familiar?
Here's the difference, though: Obama actually was getting some pretty good press when the McCain campaign produced the Frankie Valli "Obama Love" ads and the first of the "Celebrity" ads -- this was the time of Obama's European trip.
By contrast, lately Obama hasn't been getting good press -- maybe his coverage was good for half a news cycle after his convention speech, but that got wiped out literally within hours by the Palin announcement. Sure, McCain's getting bad press, but Obama continues to be portrayed as an underachiever who's plummeting in the polls (even though he's reversed that post-GOP convention drop).
The only one of the four candidates who's getting any good press is -- still -- Sarah Palin. Sure, she's mocked, but she's also the subject of story after story about the huge, giddy crowds she's drawing and the renewed enthusiasm she's inspiring within the GOP.
A woman in the crowd at a Scranton McCain rally yesterday -- a plant? -- complained about the media "picking on" Sarah Palin's kids. "Shame on you," the woman said.* McCain, delighted by the woman's oh-so-convenient reiteration of the campaign's line of the day, replied, "That is a great question."
Really? The press, apart from supermarket tabloids, has utterly ignored the Palins' brood since the convention ended and Palin emerged as the apparent Queen of the Hill.
This McCain line of attack might be somewhat more successful than attacking the Times -- it's quite possible that the McCainites will now repeatedly bring up the kids even though no one else is doing so, then complain that the kids' privacy is being violated.
But I'm not sure even this is going to work. Even when we were first hearing about Bristol Palin's pregnancy, polls showed that non-Republicans believed press coverage of Palin was fair.
As for The New York Times, the McCain campaign can attack the paper all it wants, but most Americans don't read The New York Times. John Cole says the McCain campaign seems to be run by wingnut bloggers; Steve Schmidt certainly seem to be running it as if the target audience is exclusively wingnut bloggers and fans of wingnut blogs and discussion boards and radio. Free Republic readers and Limbaughnistas are the only people who think the Times is the principal tool we liberal fascists use to keep Republicans out of power (or at least out of the White House for, oh, twelve out of the last forty years). The rest of America doesn't.
*UPDATE: The woman who asked the Palin question is a PUMA, as Kevin K. notes in comments.