The Campaign Spot

Has the Media Stuck an Unfair Narrative on McCain?

I’m generally sympathetic to the argument that the media assigns a storyline to candidates. But I’m not sure I agree with the McCain campaign, which is spotlighting this column by Townhall’s Matt Lewis, who asserts:

Anyone who knows the media, knows they basically decide on a narrative, and then stick with it … until it gets boring.  For example, the narrative that John McCain was a “maverick” was a great story … back in 2000.
Well, the new narrative is that McCain’s campaign is falling apart.  For this reason, the Washington Post featured a huge story on John Dowd’s flip from McCain to Romney.  The truth of the matter is that Dowd raised less than $7K for McCain — but you can’t let that fact get in the way of a good story …
Conversely, the media has chosen to ignore the fact that Utah’s state Senate Majority Leader has defected from Romney to McCain.
The reason?  Flipping to McCain doesn’t fit the template or the narrative that the media has created.  As such, it is barely mentioned.

Did the Post story overhype one defection? Sure. Should the political world pay much attention to a state lawmaker switching his endorsement? Eh. I’m not quite convinced. And I would figure that the “McCain campaign is falling apart storyline” – more than a little premature – is based at least as much on the immigration deal fight as any staff defections or changes. 
I will note that the McCain team has been relentless in hammering Romney. I guess they feel that if they can turn it into a two-man race with Rudy, McCain’s more conservative stance on the traditional social issues will carry the day…

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