McCain-Palin Supporters Hate the Media, Obama, Hugs

| 10/10/2008 12:46:06 PM

McCain Palin RallySome nasty sound bites have emerged from McCain-Palin rallies recently. Rally-goers have called Barack Obama a “terrorist,” and one even shouted “Kill him!” But Obama hasn’t been the only object of their fury. The media, too, is taking extreme heat from GOP party faithful. A dispatch from a Palin rally in Florida by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank tells a disturbing story:

. . . Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her “less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.” At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, “Sit down, boy.”

It seems the McCain-Palin media wars have reached a new climax, with the ticket's supporters somehow convinced that scrutiny of the candidates is something to get angry about. After all the name-calling, Milbank found a creative way to make himself feel better: He stood outside a rally wearing a sign around his neck reading “mainstream media,” and holding another in his hand saying “I need a hug.” He did get a few hugs, but was also told, “You put your hands on me, you’ll spit your teeth out,” and, “You’ll get a hug if you report accurately, which you don’t.”

While not focused on the scorn being directed at the media, the overall ugly turn of McCain-Palin rallies has become a big story in the news, and one the Democrats are pushing, according to Politico. But Jane Kim, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, says the rally story is being told at the expense of issue-based news—namely, John McCain's new mortgage proposal:

While the increasingly dirty language evident at these rallies should certainly be covered in stride, and while Bill Ayers deserves independent inquiry, any report from the trail should remember that McCain did present a new idea that is supposed to help troubled homeowners, and assess his speeches with that in mind. If he’s talking about the plan in between the “Who is Senator Obama?” lines, it deserves mention. If he’s not, that deserves mention as well.

Image by Matthew Reichbach, licensed under Creative Commons.   

Cally Carswell
10/13/2008 4:54:46 PM

John, you're right, some reports were just out this weekend about some ugly behavior on the part of Obama supporters. And they should be called out for it as McCain supporters were. You're also right that the reactions of supporters aren't necessarily the fault of candidates, but they can be stoked or implicitly condoned by them. I'm not necessarily saying McCain and Palin were doing that, but the concern was that they was verging on it. When shouts of "kill him" are yelled out at a rally and the candidate offers no response, I think it's fair to say that shows a lack of leadership. I'd also venture to say that the concern that was expressed over these rallies wasn't necessarily blaming John McCain for the outbursts, but was holding him accountable for encouraging a more reasonable discussion, which in the end he did.

John Brailsford
10/13/2008 2:56:39 PM

Have you listened to an Obama rally lately? Ignorance has unfortunately reared its ugly head in those meetings more than once as well. That's obviously not Obama's fault. Why do we presume that it's McCain's fault when it happens at his rallies? We need to be very careful as a society about mind and heart-reading. When we are most convinced that we know the motives of others, we are almost certainly wrong. I actually admire both candidates for calming down the extremism expressed in their crowds. Obama recently thanked McCain for coming to his defense when a few angry people got out of hand. You may support one candidate or another, but give them some credit when its due. Neither of them really impress me. Neither of them really scare me either. I am not particularly concerned with the expression of liberal or conservative views, but the dehumanization of the opposition and blindness to the good ideas on both sides is destroying us as a civilization. Don't presume that it's only the other side that does it. It's often the self-proclaimed "enlightened ones" on both sides who are the most obnoxious (environmentalists and animal rights advocates too often remind me of even the worst evangelicals and isolationists). If we are really for peace and justice, why are we so filled with fear, anger, and hatred ourselves? Lighten up, people. I have decided to educate my fears instead. After only a few short lectures, they have turned to peace. This peace will remain regardless of who wins this election.

Jake Mohan
10/11/2008 1:34:42 AM

Gawker had an interesting post and discussion yesterday about these recent incidents, with commenters debating whether they're isolated outbursts by a few ultimately harmless nutcases, or portents of increased acrimony and even danger to come in the first years of an Obama administration. The post also contains some video clips of some truly horrible McCain "supporters" spouting ignorant things.

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