Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

McCain tool of liberal media, GOP right says

Los Angeles Times – Washington Post News Service

Richard Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review, has some advice for George W. Bush:

”He should run an ad saying, ‘Why is the media in love with John McCain? One hundred thirty positive editorials in The New York Times the last three years. How many did Ronald Reagan get? Zero.’ That would be hitting him where he lives.”

Such attacks are already starting. Some GOP leaders, elected officials and Bush campaign strategists have decided in recent days to turn McCain’s positive coverage into a liability among conservative voters in the South Carolina primary. They have grown increasingly concerned that the Arizona senator is being buoyed by the generally upbeat coverage of reporters who spend each day chatting with McCain on his campaign bus.

”Being the darling of the liberal media elite does not help candidates with most Republican primary voters,” said Haley Barbour, a former Republican national chairman, who is backing Bush. ”The Boston Globe endorsed Senator McCain. The New York Times gives Senator McCain a big wet kiss on the front page every day. The liberal media would love to move the Republican Party to the left, and they think McCain is the vehicle.”

One party official put it this way: ”Bush should say, ‘He’s really a Democrat in disguise. That’s why the media love him.’ ”

Michigan Gov. John Engler, a Bush supporter, said last week that his candidate has been hurt by ”a fawning press that built the Bush campaign into mythic proportions and then turned their affections to John McCain to see if they could create a race.”

Some journalists have been feeling the heat. ”The Bush people continue to complain that the media likes McCain and he gets more favorable treatment,” said Lee Bandy, a political reporter for the State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper. ”They’ve been on my back for two or three weeks.”

Bush’s campaign will raise the issue in passing, aides say. ”John McCain is a media darling and is treated as such,” said Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. ”The press is in the best position to say whether they have sacrificed anything for a seat on the bus.”

McCain spokesman Howard Opinsky said his boss has earned the coverage by ”speaking his mind, being honest and giving reporters the access that Governor Bush is afraid to give for fear of making a mistake. To say that McCain is getting coverage because he’s some sort of liberal misses the point. He’s not a scripted candidate who has to check with his advisers each morning to decide what to say.”

Bush’s father tried a similar tactic in 1992 with bumper stickers that said: ”Annoy the Media – Reelect Bush.” This time around, the frustration is evident among some younger Bush advisers. ”I never knew what the price of journalists was: a free ride on the bus and a bunch of doughnuts,” one said. ”They are so desperate for someone to like them, they’ve been stiffed by politicians for so long that when someone takes down the rope line and says, ‘Come on board, we’ll eat doughnuts and tell dirty jokes,’ they love it.”

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service