March 8, 2008

On Reliable Sources, Kurtz gets the panel to admit that the media is part of the McCain bubble and basically an extension of his campaign team in not so many words. And he's cranky and he lies---Oh, my! And hey, Bumiller is new to the campaign so she doesn't know how to play McCain's game.

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KURTZ: But that suggests that the people who have been traveling with him regularly...

COX: Yes.

KURTZ: ... become part of the bubble, part of the team?

COX: Become part of the bubble, and also, I mean, I think what happens is that you -- if you've been covering him for a long time, there's a sense that, well, he does that all the time, it's not worth reporting, because he does -- he's a cranky old man. I mean, to be quite frank. You know, like, and also, I've gotten much tougher terseness than Bumiller got just there. And...

COX: But the cameras weren't rolling. And also, we wrote it off to, like, you know, he hadn't had his fifth cup of Starbucks today.

KURTZ: But is there a tendency for journalists to cut more slack for candidates who they have a lot of opportunity to talk, not necessarily because they like them, but because they're not just getting one crack at that person for eight minutes every three days?

TAPPER: Yes. And that's the exchange that the McCain people make now, and we'll see if it lasts until November. But, you know, they have this constant access. I spent a couple weeks ago -- I did a couple days with each of the candidates, Obama, Clinton, McCain. And I got more time with McCain -- not just me, all of the press corps -- in one day than I had gotten with the other two candidates the entire time.

And that's the exchange. And from 80 percent of the time it's to McCain's benefit and 20 percent it's not. But two points to make about that exchange.

One is "The New York Times" is not currently his favorite newspaper. And the other point is Elizabeth Bumiller was catching him in a lie that he told in 2004. He had been lying. He said no, he hadn't had that conversation. So it was, by definition, a "gotcha" question, and he doesn't like that, but he especially doesn't like "The New York Times."

Tapper finally says why McCain got angry on his bus. Bumiller caught McCain in a lie. It's not a good thing for McCain that he was the one to have approached John Kerry to be VP back in '04 and doesn't want to talk about it. The media now is admitting because of media access that they've become part of McCain's team. And as usual, Amy Holmes says that it's no big deal McCain has temper tantrums....So we finally have the media calling him McCranky which we can officially add to our ever expanding C&L list....

Update: Marcy Wheeler reminds me (yes, I forgot to add) about this remark from Ana Marie Cox on McCain's media/barbecue:

KURTZ: And McCain did hold a barbecue for the press at his ranch in Sedona where some people were in attendance.

COX: Yes, uh, delicious dry rubbed barbecue ribs, actually, baby back ribs.

KURTZ: First hand report.

Goodness! Did Howie catch Ana Marie going easy on McCain because she loves slurping on his his ribs?

A press "critic" worth his salt, of course, might point out that journalists who haven't been wined and dined by McCain might find the fact that he's a cranky old man newsworthy--particularly for a guy auditioning to put his hands on the nuclear football. A "critic" might point out that that's precisely the problem with the press' little rib-sucking fun with McCain, it makes them less likely to actually report the things we might like to know about these guys.

Not surprisingly, the "critic" in question did none of those things. I suspect Howie's just hoping to be invited next time around.

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