McCain and the press: rewriting history

Atlantic national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg's whole interview with McCain confidante/co-author Mark Salter is worth reading. But one part in particular--dealing with McCain's relationship with the media--is remarkable:

Goldberg: Looking back, do you think there was something false about your salad days with the press?
Salter: No, I'm trying not to draw general lessons about the press or us or the meaning of life out of all of this. Otherwise I'd despair. I think the media is driven by a need to see this history happen. And I think they've rationalized it, they think they're on the level with McCain, that he's not the old McCain.  But he is the old McCain.  He just doesn't know what happened to the old press corps.  They rationalize a reason to go get him.  Every Obama attack they carry.  Every McCain criticism of Obama they rush to blunt even before Obama does.

The thing is, Salter's simply wrong here. The old McCain worked the press like a master.  The new McCain, meanwhile, became combative with the press earlier this year and turned that combativeness into a centerpiece of his campaign at September's Republican National Convention.

I get why this evolution occured. McCain used to be a media darling; then Obama came along and took his place. That must have stung.

Still, the fact that Salter can't acknowledge a change that everybody else sees is bizarre. And it makes you wonder if McCain's been well served by his closest advisors. 


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