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October 14, 2008

Volume 2, Number 24

Media Rage at “Nasty,” “Ugly” & “Bitter” McCain Campaign 

The days when network news reporters showered John McCain with good press are long, long gone. With just three weeks until Election Day and Barack Obama leading in the polls, network reporters now pivot between outrage and disdain for McCain’s campaign tactics, acting as one-sided umpires calling foul after foul against the Republicans.

“Next we turn to presidential politics and what is becoming an increasingly nasty and bitter contest....The McCain campaign has unleashed a blistering barrage on Obama,” ABC anchor Charles Gibson rued on the October 6 World News, referring to a McCain speech criticizing Obama as unready for the presidency. Reporter Ron Claiborne called it McCain’s “fiercest, most sustained, harshest attack on Barack Obama of the entire campaign.”

“It’s getting ugly,” CBS’s Harry Smith announced that same day on the Early Show. “With a flurry of new negative ads and attacks, it’s clear the gloves are now completely off,” reporter Chip Reid agreed, citing McCain’s “new bare knuckle strategy, attacking Barack Obama’s character.” On that night’s CBS Evening News, Jeff Greenfield suggested the Republicans hoped to keep voters from voting: “There’s a theory that says ‘make the campaign ugly, and people won’t turn out to vote.’”

“It’s hard to tell which one’s sinking faster: the stock market, or the tone of this campaign,” CBS’s Jeff Glor scolded on the October 7 Early Show.

“Attacking your opponent’s character [is] nothing new in politics,” ABC’s David Wright admitted on Thursday’s Good Morning America. In what was ostensibly a news story, Wright editorialized against McCain: “In the last couple of days, the Republicans have been laying it on thick, chumming the waters.... It’s a full-bore attack on Obama’s character, suggesting he’s yellow, disloyal and doesn’t belong....In the primaries, John McCain insisted he wasn’t going to run a campaign like this, and that’s left some of his supporters to wonder why he’s doing it now.” [Audio/video (1:54): Windows Media (7:04 MB) and MP3 audio (650 kB)]Every four years, liberal reporters pose as non-partisans scolding all negative campaign tactics, but they always aim most of their fire at the Republican ticket as unfairly besmirching the Democrats. Polls this year show most Americans know the press is rooting for an Obama victory — a fact only underscored by the media’s howling outrage against any criticisms of their favorite candidate.

 For more, see the October 7, 8 and 10 CyberAlerts.


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