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The Filter Fights Back

As a former media columnist, I’ve held back when the McCain campaign has talked about their disregard for the media “filter” that seeks to attack the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

As chronicled here and elsewhere, the campaign’s restricted media access to Sen. John McCain has been part of a concentrated effort to control the overall coverage in the past few months. For a man who once called the press his “base,” McCain has made press availabilities ever more scarce as the campaign has developed.

Last week, the filter fought back. Both The New York Times and the Washington Post lashed out against recent McCain ads, while Bloomberg News reported that the McCain campaign had perhaps exaggerated the size of crowds at events. This all led to NBC’s political unit asking the question if the wheels had “

The thing about the filter is that it can take a certain amount of blows before it comes back with the vengeance of a thousand suns. It’s true the media still has much to answer for when it came to questioning the Bush administration for the run up to the war in Iraq. As far as I’m concerned, with the exception of a few lonely journalists, the blood of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians will be on our hands for our lack of vigilance.

But the truth is Americans not only need the filter — we want it. And while the press has been criticized for not being aggressive or tough enough during the course of this campaign, it seems as if a corner has been turned.

This is not about attacking McCain or praising Sen. Barack Obama. It’s about, as we at TWI strive to, keeping “the bastards honest.” One week might not enough to re-establish the veracity and toughness the public deserves in this campaign. But it’s a start.

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