Politicians don't "grab" headlines; news organizations grant them

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

MSNBC's First Read:

John McCain has conducted yet another interview in which he argues that Obama has failed to live up to his promise of bipartisanship. You've got to give McCain credit; the guy knows how to continue to grab headlines. During the Bush years, he was the go-to Republican for Democrats who were looking to prove they could work with a Republican and find middle ground. Now, he's serving as the one-man judge and jury on whether something's bipartisan or not, despite running a hyper-partisan presidential campaign (remember that fellow Bill Ayers?). It's going to make the Obama White House crazy, but McCain's got enough of a following to pull this off for a few months.

MSNBC didn't mention this, but McCain's claim to be "judge and jury" on Obama's bipartisanship is particularly weak, given that a key message of McCain's presidential campaign was that Obama was insufficiently bipartisan -- an argument that last year's election results suggest the public just didn't buy.

That aside, it's clear that MSNBC recognizes that McCain is an imperfect messenger here, given the "hyper-partisan presidential campaign" he ran against Obama. Yet MSNBC doesn't seem to realize that the only reason McCain is able to "grab headlines" is that news organizations like MSNBC give him headlines.

If McCain's complaints don't have merit -- and MSNBC seems to suggest they don't -- but they get coverage anyway, that says something about the news media. So when MSNBC says "McCain's got enough of a following to pull this off," it's clear who that "following" consists of: The news media, including MSNBC.

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