Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Saint McCain

We do need to be saved, from the nonstop parade of puff pieces about America's Savior, Saint John McCain, we're going to be subjected to.

We should remember that this man who is going to save us from coarseness once quipped:

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?

Because her father is Janet Reno."

Of course, many in the press know that they must save Saint McCain - and by extension us - from himself.

The fact that McCain had made the tasteless joke was reported in major newspapers, as was the vain attempt by his press secretary to initially deny what McCain had done. But in several major newspapers, the joke itself was kept a secret. When McCain subsequently apologized to President Clinton, the Washington Post, in its personality section, noted the apology but said the joke "was too vicious to print."

The Los Angeles Times, in its Life & Style section, provided an oblique rendering of the joke that did not fully convey its ugliness. When Maureen Dowd penned a column in the New York Times about the joke, she wrote that McCain "is so revered by the press that his disgusting jape was largely nudged under the rug." But Dowd chose not to relay the joke, either.

The joke did appear in McCain's hometown paper, the Arizona Republic, and the Associated Press did report the joke in full, so everyone in the press had access to McCain's words. But by censoring themselves, the Post, the Times and others helped McCain deflect flak and preserved his status as a Republican presidential contender.

Chelsea was just 18 at the time.