Saturday, February 23, 2008

A tortured sex scandal

Alternet had an extremely unsurprising piece about the twisted priorities of the corporate news media.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain made comments endorsing the use of torture.

But of course, the corporate media felt the public would be best served by the titilating details of an alleged sex scandal involving the Arizona senator several years ago rather than the anti-civilization comments of a man who has a decent chance of becoming our next president.

To the corporate media, I say thanks (yet again) for nothing.

But the reaction to the sex scandal was equally predictable. Republicans hysterically attacked The New York Times for its alleged hit job on McCain. (The right didn't seem to mind when the sex scandals were about Bill Clinton)

Huckabee supporters complained that the article came too late to influence the GOP nominating race. But had The Times released it earlier, it would've been attacked for... influencing the GOP nominating race.

The paper, for its part, claimed that it held on to the story because it wasn't ready until recently. Alternet opined that the daily held the story because it was afraid of conservatives.

Sure the right-wing noise machine is attacking The Times, because that's their raison d'etre. Never mind that the paper endorsed one John McCain for the GOP nomination. But the noise would've been ten times worse had the story been released earlier and somehow energized the impotent Giuliani campaign.

Others believe that the McCain campaign leaked the final details of the story so it would run now.

Some speculate that they wanted this sex story to drown out his pro-torture comments, but I find that highly doubtful. If anything, the pro-torture comments would have solidified his standing among the far right of his party, which has a problem with civilized behavior.

More likely, the rationale for such a leak, if it occurred, was to whip up the conservative persecution complex to gain sympathy (and money) for McCain. Because for as much as the far right may mistrust McCain, there is little that rallies conservatives more than an imagined slight by the 'liberal media.'

Running as a saint martyred by the evil media is a risky strategy, but not unprecedented. Hillary Clinton wouldn't have a campaign without it.

1 comment:

Mark said...

This story sounds bogus at first glance. 10 year-old accusations by anonymous sources who only said they "feel" something *might* have been inappropriate? I would hope the NYT has better evidence than this.
Then again, would they risk putting this out if the evidence was so flimsy? Perhaps they are holding off more details in reserve? What bugs me a bit more is that they had this story well before they endorsed him; almost two-faced if you ask me.
We'll see.