By Brigitte L. Nacos
Senator John McCain is the only presidential candidate the mainstream media haven’t laid a glove on. All other candidates, Democrats and Republicans, those still standing and those out of their respective party’s race, have been targets of media criticism and attack-dog journalism. Some more (i.e., Hillary Clinton); some less (i.e., Barack Obama). In a democracy, the fourth estate is supposed to scrutinize public officials and candidates for public offices. But one would expect some evenhandedness in this respect. Instead, Senator McCain has gotten a free ride because the press has bought into his “straight talk” slogan. Add to this the media’s frequent references to McCain’s suffering as POW in North Vietnam and as genuine American hero, and you get an idea why he is now the favorite for Republican nomination—and perhaps beyond.
Referring to President Bush’s and Senator McCain’s shared hawkish attitudes, Arianna Huffington wrote the other day, “When it comes to the war in Iraq, the president and the leading GOP contender to replace him seem to be stuck in a time warp -- tossing out applause lines from years gone by and using rhetoric drawn from the Dark Ages of the Iraq debate.” The amazing thing is that McCain is not seriously questioned by the mainstream media on positions that are outright frightening and more hawkish than those of the very unpopular President Bush. During a campaign stop in Florida, he said, “There's going to be other wars... We will never surrender but there will be other wars." After Iraq—what next?
Last night, there was yet another useless TV-exercise called “debate;” nobody asked McCain about the next wars to be fought with what resources and at what costs? And when the Senator was asked about his remark that American forces may stay in Iraq for 100 years last night, he was not pressed for a straight answer but allowed to display once again his righteousness in favor of military actions. And this is a candidate who promises to cut spending and taxes once he is president.