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Media Try to Coronate McCain

February 18, 2008

The John McCain-for-president website has posted a column from David Broder of the Washington Post praising the senator. This Republican candidate's campaign seems to think that people will be impressed that a Post columnist has found something nice to say about the Arizona Senator. I am not impressed. I know something about the paper, which we call the Compost. It is very liberal and pro-Democrat.

Curiously, I can't find the Washington Post editorial from Sunday on McCain's website which praises McCain while describing how his views on major issues are strikingly similar to those of Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Why this omission? The answer is obvious: the senator is trying to woo conservatives, not drive them away. And this editorial makes it crystal clear that McCain will pursue some of the same policies as president that have been promised by, or are expected from, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

In an editorial titled "The Coming Change," the liberal Post declares, in regard to the Democrats and McCain, "In contrast to the current White House occupant, the next president will prohibit the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture that have stained America's reputation abroad. In contrast to President Bush, the next president will not start as a skeptic about the danger posed by global warming, and he or she will favor, not resist, legislation to impose mandatory caps on greenhouse gases, even without an international agreement binding other nations. The next president will support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and vigorous regulation of the campaign finance system. The next president, however chastened by the angry debate over illegal immigration, will believe in the need for comprehensive immigration reform and support the idea of giving those in this country illegally a path to earn legal status. This is one Bush administration position we are relieved will stay constant."

So like Obama and Hillary, McCain will prohibit one of the most effective interrogation techniques used against terrorists. In the name of the man-made global warming theory, which is the subject of much dispute, McCain will embrace governmental measures to reduce our use of oil, gas and other fossil fuels. That will certainly drive up the cost of energy by thousands of dollars per family. McCain will also spend federal tax dollars, including from people who find abortion to be the taking of a human life, on the destruction of human embryos, in order to pursue treatments or cures for various diseases or health problems. Finally, McCain will continue to promote amnesty for illegal aliens in America.

Now you can understand why the John McCain-for-president campaign would not want this editorial highlighted. The paper goes on to cite some differences between the Democrats and McCain on various issues and maintains the election contest promises to be "compelling." But many conservatives might disagree.

It is presumptuous, of course, for the Post or any other media outlet or personality to assume that McCain will be the nominee. There is still a fierce battle going on. In the February 9 Washington State caucuses, to take one example, McCain reportedly got 26 percent, Mike Huckabee got 24 percent, and Ron Paul received 21 percent. The Huckabee campaign says that there were "obvious irregularities" in the counting of the votes and that Huckabee may still win if all of the votes are counted. It is also still possible that the Republican convention could be deadlocked among the candidates.

It was offensive for Chris Wallace on the Fox News Sunday show, during an interview with President Bush, to refer to the Republican nominee as McCain. Even Bush corrected him, saying, "you're presuming that Senator McCain is going to be the nominee..." Why such a rush by Fox News to coronate McCain? Well, the New York Post, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who runs the parent company of Fox News, endorsed McCain on February 8. "We have long admired the senator," the paper said. "In 2000, we endorsed his presidential candidacy over that of the eventual winner, George W. Bush. And we support him today for many of the same reasons."

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis had the decency and honesty to make the elementary point in Sunday's Post that "Until he gets to that major number of 1,200, he's not the presumptive nominee of the party." McCain is still hundreds of delegates short.

Nevertheless, when I put in the words McCain and "presumptive nominee" in the Google news search engine, I bring up over 1,600 hits. References to McCain as the presumptive nominee appear in such papers as the Post itself, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and the British Guardian.

What purpose is served by such a description? It only serves to give reporters an excuse not to write about the issues, which still separate McCain from Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, and cover the "horse race."

This "reporting" reflects a terrible tendency by our media to try to pick the nominees in advance of the people actually casting their ballots. Our media seem to think that polls, speculation and guesses are more important. By doing this, the media are undermining the strength of our democratic form of government and discouraging people from voting. I am hearing from plenty of people who are extremely angry about this and despise the media because of it. It reflects the transformation of our media into a gigantic crystal ball. They are trying to play the role of psychics. The public would prefer that they just report the facts and treat this contest as an unfolding event in which the candidates are still competing for votes. There are a lot of people who would like to vote in this contest and would like their votes to count.

Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation is one of them. In a statement, he declared that he was voting for Huckabee in Virginia. "I don't buy the idea that John McCain is a true conservative," Weyrich said. "Nor do I buy the idea that Mike Huckabee should get out of this contest. The people in the Potomac area¯Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia¯deserve a choice. In addition, we have many important states coming up, including my home state of Wisconsin. Folks in all those states deserve a choice¯a real choice."

McCain, of course, has benefited from the media playing politics and trying to influence the race. His own website has an entire section of "newspaper endorsements." It declares that "Over 50 Newspapers from the Early Primary States have Endorsed John McCain For President."

The strange thing is that, if you look under the state heading of New York, you won't find McCain's endorsement from the liberal New York Times. This paper endorsed the Arizona senator because of his liberal views on issues such as global warming and immigration.

McCain is playing a devious game. He wants and highlights his support from the media. But he doesn't want the voters to find out from that same media how liberal he really is.

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