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Wednesday, September 12, 2018
The MRC Loved McCain, Except When He Got in Its Way -- And Doesn't Particularly Love Him Now That He's Dead
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center was never going to miss John McCain upon his death. It has long despised McCain for being a frequent guest on Sunday morning news shows; for instance, Tim Graham ranted in 2013 about how those shows consider him a "dream guest" because he's a "squishy" Republican and has "done 60 Sunday shows just since 2010." Jeffrey Lord similarly huffed that "McCain has every reason to prefer the mainstream media to conservative media precisely because conservative media is more than willing and capable of holding him -- and other Republican ObamaCare supporters -- to task for their bold and deliberate hypocrisy."

The MRC particularly hated him for his decisive vote last year to stop a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare, and even having an incurable brain tumor didn't stop the hate. As one MRC writer put it (in boldface, no less), "Having an illness, no matter how serious, precludes neither the President nor the public from judging Senator McCain’s political acumen on its merits."

It clearly grated on the collective nerves of the MRC that McCain was lionized upon his death. But it had to publish something about it, so it focused on reliving the one time it consistently defended him: the 2008 presidential election, when it's contractually obligated to defend the Republican candidate no matter what -- and then only to defend the honor of McCain's vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.

Curtis Houck complained that Vox tweeted that "[y]ou can draw a straight line from John McCain to Donald Trump — through Sarah Palin" and freaked out over Vox misattributing Palin's hockey-mom joke to the wrong speech, then cheered how Vox was "ripped on Twitter" over the claims (meanwhile, the MRC's falsehood that Time Warner Cable was still a part of Time Warner at the time of its merger deal with AT&T remains live and uncorrected, and the MRC still hasn't told us which editors allowed the white nationalist hyperlinks in Tom Blumer's NewsBusters posts to stand).

Kyle Drennen huffed that "Amid glowing tributes to the life and career of Arizona Senator John McCain on Monday, MSNBC took time to use the Republican lawmaker’s passing to trash his 2008 vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin, labeling McCain’s selection of the then-Alaska governor as his 'biggest political mistake.'" Brad Wilmouth similarly whined that "several personalities on both CNN and MSNBC have lamented his selection of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential nominee in 2008 as a 'mistake'."

You know who else that picking Palin was a mistake? John McCain. Drennen didn't mention that; Wilmouth did note it, though it didn't keep him from insisting on framing his piece as blaming folks on TV for calling it a mistake.

Scott Whitlock rehashed negative 2008 coverage of McCain's campaign as a counter to positive coverage of him after his death, claiming that "journalists weren’t so fond of McCain when he dared to stand in the way of Barack Obama." But can't both be true, that McCain was ultimately a decent person and that he ran a terrible campaign in 2008?

The MRC also worked Trump into it. Tim Graham complained that " published a glowing eulogy video of McCain above a typical expression of disgust at President Trump's failure to behave like a traditional politician and say glowing things about someone you didn't like one bit (and who banned the president from his funeral)." Houck, meanwhile, whined about CNN's alleged "obsession with tying McCain tributes to President Donald Trump, the latter’s attacks on the former, and how McCain was the anti-Trump."

The MRC's Geoffrey Dickens also wrote an unironic piece titled "Media Loved McCain EXCEPT When He Got in Their Way." He failed to point out that this more accurately describes his employer.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 3:21 PM EDT

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