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July 7, 2008
How McCain Can Run
Against the Media and Win
The relationship between the mainstream media and the Republican
candidate is especially complicated this year. John McCain had managed
to stay on the media’s decent side ever since he ran against George W.
Bush in the Republican primaries eight years ago.
has frequently found himself on the left edge of the Republican Party,
and has been frequenting talk shows throughout Bush’s entire presidency.
But now he’s running against a colossus, perhaps the most blatantly
media-favored presidential candidate in America’s history. And soon, the
media will move from a position of adoration for Barack Obama and
general neglect of McCain to a much harsher attitude. The Bush 2.0
platform will crush whatever seemingly warm bonds McCain formed in the
past. The relative peace won’t last. Obama is the media’s choice, and
they will not hold back.
McCain needs to rid himself of any ideas about winning over the media.
This may actually be the biggest issue of his campaign.
Concerning the media, a conservative candidate has to pick his battles.
On almost every issue, there is a distinct gap between the media’s
consensus and the public’s. Strategically, the goal is to discern which
gaps are the biggest, and to, whenever possible, make those your home
a candidate decides to make a big deal out of any position with which
the media disagrees, he would be significantly better off knowing the
public is already leaning his way. But if the public is leaning towards
the media, then the media’s attacks will inflict serious damage.
Take, for example, issues such as gay marriage and global warming. The
media would have us believe that, by now, Al Gore has everyone convinced
that global warming is the greatest threat our world has ever faced. In
actuality, despite the overwhelming acceptance of global warming by so
many companies out there who correctly fear what the media could do to
their reputation, a Gallup poll released in April showed that only a
third of Americans see global warming as a serious threat, which is
about the same percentage as 19 years ago.
Concerning gay marriage, the media would have us believe that bigoted
Nebraskan farmers are the only ones opposed to a constitutional
amendment legalizing gay marriage. The fact is that most polls show that
there are still more Americans who oppose gay marriage than those who
But here’s the problem with turning these issues into wars. Although
there is a clear gap between the media’s ideas and those held by
everyone else, the gap is not so large to render the media’s attacks
impotent. America has not made up its mind. There is a large enough
percentage of Americans who fear global warming, and a big enough buzz,
that the media could seriously damage a candidate who openly questions
the urgency of the problem.
But there are two subjects in particular that have sprung major gaps
between the media and the public, and these are the battles McCain
McCain’s first issue should always be oil. It affects our nation’s
financial security and our national security. And if you ask me, it
speaks loudly about our general state of sanity. We have to begin
drilling right away, and although the media is perhaps in bed more with
the environmental groups than any others, the majority of Americans want
us to use the oil we have. This issue is a home run, and McCain cannot
get scared of the media on this one. Be loud and proud. They’ll slander
him, call him a cold-blooded capitalist, question his devotion to
“long-term health,” but fortunately, there are enough voices out there
and enough reason among the average person to realize that there is only
one good way out of our current oil crisis. While we’re developing
alternative fuels, we need to drill here, now and quickly.
Secondly, McCain needs to constantly preach the success in Iraq. The
media wants to focus on the initial invasion, which they are convinced
was completely foolish. But the truth is that this just doesn’t matter
anymore. McCain needs to make this point every time he steps up to a
microphone. Things are getting much better, victory is in sight and
Obama’s heroic stance all those years ago is about as relevant as the
Very few Americans actually favor Obama’s previous stance on an
immediate troop withdrawal (which he is beginning to revise). The only
reason I can imagine that McCain has not made a bigger deal out of this
is that he fears the reaction from the media. Get over it, McCain.
You’re right about this one, and Americans could use a reminder. No
matter where Obama winds up on this one in November, he’ll either appear
like an idiot or a flip-flopper of Kerryesque proportions.
McCain would accept that the media has already has made its choice,
maybe he’ll figure out that the two keys to the White House are oil and
Iraq. Much to the chagrin of the media, they don’t get to pick the next
American president. That job still belongs to the people.
North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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