Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Salon‘s Glenn Greenwald (10/29/08, ad-viewing required) takes apart a “sentimental, cringe-inducing retrospective from the Los Angeles Times‘ campaign reporter Maeve Reston, wistfully lamenting the loss of affection and friendship between John McCain and the reporters who cover his campaign–what she twice calls ‘intimacy.'” Deeming the piece “an instant classic in illustrating how campaign reporters think and behave,” Greenwald tells how

Reston blames herself, at least in part, for the loss of friendship between McCain and his reporters. Back in July, with a couple of other reporters, she approached him at the back of his “Straight Talk Express” bus, when “as always McCain warmly motioned for us to squeeze in beside him on the couch.” She then committed a terrible sin: She asked The Maverick a question–whether he “agreed with his adviser Carly Fiorina’s recent statement that it was unfair for some health insurance companies to cover Viagra but not birth control”–which, as a long-time opponent of health insurance mandates, he was visibly uncomfortable answering and to which he was unable to provide a coherent response, resulting in a video that was widely used by “liberals and late-night comedians” and which was “embarrassing” for McCain.

In short, “she breached the core agreement between McCain and his reporters–access and friendship in exchange for positive coverage–which is also, by the way, the flagship principle of the modern American journalist generally.”

See the FAIR magazine Extra!: “The Press Corps’ Unshakeable Crush on McCain: Some Straight Talk About the Media’s Favorite ‘Maverick'” (5-6/08) by Peter Hart