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Only in America Could a Two-Faced Creature Like McCain Attain Such Media Status

Only in America could a man who has called the mainstream media his "base" run against that very same media.
 
 
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Only in America could a man who has been in office for decades run as an "outsider" against the entrenched interests in Washington.

Only in America could a man who is a longtime Republican stalwart run against his own party, which has governed while controlling most of the institutional levers of power -- the presidency, the Supreme Court and the Congress -- for much of the past eight years.

And only in America could a man who has called the corporatized, in-the-tank, mainstream media his "base" -- the media that made him its darling and hailed him for his supposed "straight talk" -- run against that very same media, bashing it figuratively while "peace officers" were doing so quite literally to journalists in the streets of St. Paul, in a manner unseen since the '60s and the Chicago days of Richard Daley and the subsequent Nixonian "nattering nabobs of negativity" era.

Yes, welcome to America, land of opportunity, where every politician is a self-styled "change agent" -- yet little ever seems to change.

Running hard against the elite, effete (or as Bill O'Reilly concisely puts it, the "sniveling, left-wing, wine-drinking, brie-eating") media establishment -- while simultaneously chewing on pork rinds, downing shots of Crown Royal with beer chasers, and quadrennially cozying up to Soccer and Hockey Moms and Nascar Dads -- is of course a time-honored tradition among political practitioners within both the Republican and the Democratic wings of America's ruling Property Party. Yet few since the days of Tricky Dick and his attack dog Spiro Agnew have taken the obligatory attacks on the media to such heights -- or depths, really -- as the McCain-Palin campaign, now effectively run by the bullet-headed attack dog Steve Schmidt and other acolytes of Karl Rove and the band of merry miscreants most responsible for the debacle formerly known as the Bush administration.

One after another, speakers at the Republican National Convention unleashed a barrage of attacks on the news media, as the trade journal Broadcasting & Cable reported:

As the GOP convention hit its stride Tuesday, after its opening was overshadowed by Hurricane Gustav, the press became almost as big a target as Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), with speech after speech tarring the media as liberal and elitist.

Fred Thompson, the senator-turned-actor whose own campaign for the Republican nomination ended early, fired the first broadside in his speech Tuesday. On Wednesday, former Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani joined in before Palin herself took aim.

"I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment," Palin said in her speech accepting the nomination. "And I've learned quickly these past few days that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone."

This prompted sustained boos from the audience at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minneapolis.

Meanwhile, beleaguered Big Media news executives struggled against the unmitigated assaults to defend their coverage. "It's a time-honored marketing ploy, and every time they bash the media, it means they're not talking about a vision or a plan," CNN President Jon Klein said, while also predictably trotting out his usual assault on the blogosphere as a sort of arms-length apologia: "This onslaught about the mainstream media seems woefully time-worn and out of step, considering how new media have become the source of the scurrilous rumor-mongering on both the Right and the Left. If they want to pick a target, let them pick irresponsible bloggers who are reporting rumors promiscuously."

From literally beating the press outside in the streets (and even threatening them inside their offices) to verbally bashing reporters and executives alike everywhere from the convention podium to select media outlets they favor, John McChange and his lipsticked pit bull Sarah Palin are counting on the fact we as a culture have developed such a severe case of ADD that we can no longer ADD one and one and get two!

Is there a problem in Washington? Forget the fact that the Republicans have been running everything there for years -- and elect a Republican "change agent!" Is there a problem with the ongoing war and occupation of Iraq? Forget the fact that the Republicans have been waging a war there for years -- and elect a Republican "change agent!" Is there a problem with our media being complicit with those in power and concealing the truth from the American people? Forget the fact that the Republican candidate for president has benefited from a cozy relationship with his media "base" for years -- and yes, elect a Republican "change agent," who will then, unchanged, crawl right back into bed with that same elite, effete crowd the minute he sets foot in the Oval Office!

Only in America, Land of Opportunity, is everyone free to start over -- and over and over -- endlessly reinventing themselves. Here, as the poet Allen Ginsberg once noted, "yesterday's newspaper is amnesia."

AlterNet is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed by its writers are their own.

Filmmaker and journalist Rory O'Connor is the author of " Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio " (AlterNet Books, 2008). O'Connor also writes the Media Is a Plural blog.

 
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