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Liberal Watchdog Challenges Anti-McCain Media Bias

The McCain campaign has gotten a lot of mileage lately from its not-so-subtle cries of media bias in favor of Sen. Barack Obama. Rubbish, says Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog group. ABC News reports that the organization — which published a book titled "Free Ride" about McCain’s historically cozy relationship with the press — is airing an ad that shows Sen. John McCain has gotten his share of media adulation. From ABC News:

In a new ad to run on cable stations, Media Matters for America argues that McCain — not Obama — is the favored candidate of the press. The ad splices together comments by prominent media figures on the press’ favorable relationship with the Arizona Republican — and features a cartoon version of McCain picking flower petals while saying, "They love me, they love me not."

Most notably, the ad features a famous clip of Chris Matthews — who was featured prominently in McCain’s "Obama Love" ad, swooning over Obama — declaring that the media is McCain’s "base." It is unclear how much of an impact the ad will have on the public’s perception — especially since it has become almost axiomatic that the press is in the bag for Obama. But it is a reminder that, for the bulk of his political career, McCain has gotten extremely favorable coverage from the media. The presumed GOP nominee owes his reputation as a maverick to countless newspaper articles that ingrained this image into the public consciousness, and McCain’s experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam allowed the Arizona senator to deflect criticism a priori. It’s hard to have a lot of sympathy for him if the magic is gone from that romance.

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