Of McCain, Spain, and media bias

If you really have your ear to the political ground, you may have heard the story last week about McCain claiming he would refuse to meet with the Prime Minister of Spain.  Yes, that Spain, our NATO ally.  A country we are pledged to defend should it be invaded and surely a member in good standing of McCain's fictional “league of Democracies.”  Nuts, yes?  Josh Marshall has full details.  His best surmise:

So to restate, I think the simplest explanation is that McCain
didn't understand what he was being asked. And instead of trying to
clarify, he assumed the interviewer, who had already asked him about
Chavez and Castro, must be quizzing him on some other Latin American
strongman who was up to no good. As so often with McCain, he tried to
wing it. I think the available evidence is consistent which much less
generous readings of the event. But this read is plausible. And
Scheunemann, whose lack of experience in press work was painfully on
display today, acted with characteristically knuckle-headed aggression
and doubled-down on McCain's nonsensical statement.

And whatever the misunderstanding, let's face it. When a president
or presidential nominees gets confused in an interview, appears to say
that a European country is in the Western Hemisphere and inadvertently
makes highly belligerent statements toward a major ally, that's a big

Yet, nary a word in major campaign coverage this past week (yes, there was an economic meltdown to worry about).  But still, just imagine if Barack Obama had taken a position so obviously ludicrous.  You wouldn't be hearing the end of it– not only from conservative blogs and FOX news, but from the Times, the Post, ABC, CBS, you name it.  So, is this lack of follow-through some insidious conservative media bias?  Their overwhelming love for John McCain?  No, it is just the everyday bias of how the media works.  They know John McCain.  They know he knows foreign policy.  (How do they know this?  He talks about it a lot and he's overly-aggressive in his foreign policy statements).  That's their story and they are sticking with it.  So, no matter how stupid something he says on foreign policy is (Shia vs. Sunni, anyone?), he pretty much gets away with it. This is not any ideological bias, this is just the political media being the dumb animal it is.  Of course, when a similar story on Obama is largely ignored, you better leave that conservatives will be screaming, “liberal media bias!” no end.

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