McCain = Media Whipping-Boy? A French Report

The French weekly newsmagazine L’Express has taken up the new mini-dispute about whether the US press has abandoned its previous love for John McCain in favor of Barack Obama (John McCain, the Unloved One of the Media?).

(Bizarrely, the publication information at the article’s head indicates it was put on-line on Monday, which was before many of the developments that it discusses – such as the McCain campaign’s release of the mocking “Obama Love” videos – actually occurred!)

As the lede leads: “The Republican candidate for the presidential election, whose opinion piece about Iraq was ‘censored’ by the New York Times, is feeling unloved . . . Or at least less loved than his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, by the American media. In his latest campaign [film] clips he turns on some star journalists with derision.” And indeed, that is the cause-and-effect chain that L’Express’ writer (no by-line) perceives: McCain’s op-ed piece was just rejected by the New York Times, less than a week after Barack Obama got to see his posted on arguably America’s most influential opinion page, and just before he took off on his South Asian/Middle Eastern/European tour. It’s so unfair! That’s what prompted McCain to unleash the video-wizards on his campaign staff to release the new video making fun of the media’s supposed infatuation with Obama.

Actually, two versions of the video were released, the article notes; it provides both an embedded YouTube video of one and the link to the webpage on McCain’s campaign site where you can see both and vote for one. In any event, both videos play against a background of what the article terms “syrupy love-songs.” You can also find a link to the webpage on the Drudge Report site that decided to post McCain’s rejected piece (but remember that EuroSavant has previously brought you a link to where you can read it in German – sorry, haven’t been able to find it on-line in French).

Since the New York Times rejection is said here to play such a key role in heightening the McCain campaign’s media frustration, L’Express applies some focused analysis to that incident, and the conclusion is that perhaps they are making rather too much of a big deal about it. The paper’s editorial staff still professes itself to be very glad to publish an editorial from the Republican Senator; it’s just that the one he submitted, in their eyes, did not quite measure up – yet – to the required standard. A little give-and-take between the editorial staff and people submitting op-ed pieces for publication, whoever they might be, is quite a routine occurrence, and usually it means that the first draft does not make the cut but a subsequent draft will. It’s unsure whether McCain’s staff was willing to take the process further by reworking the piece – indeed, it’s publication subsequently by the Drudge Report (inter alia) would make you think that they were not interested in that. Instead, we have statements like the one quoted in the article from McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds (his real name?): “John McCain thinks that victory in Iraq will be based on conditions on the ground, not on an arbitrary timetable. Unlike Barack Obama, his position will not change for political reasons or at the request of the New York Times.” And, of course, we have the twin “Obama Love” satirical videos. Was John McCain just fishing for a pretext to portray himself as a media victim when he set about to submit that editorial?

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