Some 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.