McCain’s Relationship with the Press

McCain’s Relationship with the Press In an address to the Associated Press this morning, John McCain explained his strategy of giving reporters exhaustive access:

I believe in giving great access to the press for three reasons. First, I much prefer long back and forths, where reporters have multiple follow ups and I have an opportunity to explain my views in greater detail — and, occasionally to correct any initial mistakes I might have made in communicating them — than is allowed in the short exchanges and bright lights of the press avail. The dynamics of the avail, in my opinion, tend to produce more heat than light on your part and excessive caution on the candidate’s part. Reporters have one, maybe two shots at me, and they want it to count, by which I mean they would like to catch me in a mistake, a discrepancy or a less than artful expression. And candidates tend to approach them with the primary intention of not saying anything beyond a single message or not saying anything newsworthy at all.

Second, I think reporters are better able to meet their first responsibility of ensuring an informed citizenry if they are allowed to press a candidate for more than a gotcha quote or a comment on whatever the cable driven news environment has decided is the process story of the day.

Not mentioned, of course, is that it’s harder to stick a (proverbial) knife in a politician’s back if he’s someone you’re friendly with.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Media,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.