Via Balloon Juice, here’s something that caught my attention:
While the traveling press corps was shipped off to a barbecue restaurant here, John McCain charmed his way through an interview with a local TV reporter. Surae Chinn of KCTV posed such less-than-penetrating questions as “How important is Missouri?” and “Have you chosen a running mate?” and — addressing the candidate’s wife, Cindy — “How do you make your marriage work?”
Moments later, though, the Republican candidate seemed to grow annoyed with the Kansas City Star’s Steve Kraske, who pressed him on his recent comment that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to strengthening Social Security.
When Kraske said that McCain presumably wasn’t ruling out a payroll tax hike, McCain interrupted: “That’s presuming wrong.” When the reporter rephrased the question, McCain said: “If you want to keep asking me over and over again, you’re welcome to.”
It was a brief moment of friction that highlighted how the captain of the Straight Talk Express is having a bumpier ride with journalists than when he ran for president eight years ago. The popular image of the campaign — McCain bantering with national journalists in the back of his bus — has, in reality, all but vanished.The traveling press is now routinely stiffed in favor of five-minute sit-downs with local reporters.
Emphasis mine. Because, you got that, local reporters? McCain thinks you’re morons. His campaign is counting on you to suck like big sucking things. They’re basically calling you rubes, right to your faces. And if you had any pride at all, you’d take that distinction and shove it up his ass. You’d lose the questions about “But do you really like [insert local delicacy] here in [insert tiny town where reporter works], oh great Senator McCain?” and go straight for the same stuff everybody else asks him.
After all, it’s not like Howard Kurtz or the reporters at the New York Times are any better than you. It’s not like they do anything different. All they do is what you do: They ask questions and write down the answers and tell other people what they learned. There’s no reason you, local reporter, need to sit still for being treated like a starry-eyed teenybopper who can be counted on to ask how Cindy McCain makes her marriage work. Surprise them a little. Kick some ass. If ever there was a time to do so, it would be in front of your brethren from the bigger news organizations, who to tell you the truth haven’t exactly been tearing it up on the trail these days. Show them up. Swagger a little. Act like a grownup, instead of like the adoring lapdog McCain is flatout telling you he thinks you are.
(Not that I hold out much hope; even Chicago TV news treats visiting politicians like they’re, erm, Paris Hilton, and how they treat ACTUAL celebrities is even worse. If I have to sit through one more Janet Davies report about how OMG JOHN CUSACK MADE A MOVIE AND THEN WENT TO A CUBS GAME, I’m going to break things.)
As an aside, even in this mostly critical column about how McCain is sucking the bag, Howard Kurtz can’t resist giving the guy a bit of a pet:
While many problems are of McCain’s own making, it often seems that he can’t catch a break. He stood beside an oil pump in a dusty Bakersfield, Calif., field last week, trying to dramatize his support for offshore drilling while painting Obama as “the Doctor No of America’s energy future.”
But the clip that played on ABC’s “World News” and the cable networks was of McCain, who has a history of skin cancer, explaining to reporters why a mole had been removed from his face.
Aww. My heart breaks.