Nothing to fear

The recent history of the relationship between the Republican Party and the news media shows an adversarial attitude on the part of the GOP that borders on outright contempt. ItâÄôs a hackneyed cliché employed out of necessity or vengefulness, always used as a bludgeon when the press cannot, or will not, be cowed into submission over some political issue. This past week, the McCain campaign pulled the faithful tool out of their bag of tricks and deployed it against the most loathed institution in the alleged liberal media network: The New York Times. Decrying the Times as âÄúnot by any standards a journalistic institutionâÄù McCain campaign senior adviser Steve Schmidt touched all the normal complaints, accusing the paper of âÄúno level of public vetting of ObamaâÄôs recordâÄù being âÄúa pro-Obama advocacy organizationâÄù and being âÄú150 percent in the tank for the Democratic candidate.âÄù Even if this were true, McCain and his party have nobody to blame but themselves. During the early part of the general campaign, the McCain camp complained about the inordinate attention fixed on Obama and demanded more press coverage. Ever since then, the McCain campaign has been unwilling to allow the press to do any actual reporting. They have kept Gov. Sarah Palin sequestered out of worry that she may say or do something embarrassing, while John McCain came out of hiding just three days ago, after more than six weeks without having a conference with the national press. This embargo on press drew conflict on Tuesday, when CNN threatened to withdraw its cameras from future photo-ops if they were not granted more access to the candidates. Every major presidential candidate must realize that the media is going to cover them, and the only way to steer discussion is to participate. When a candidate becomes inaccessible, the media focus shifts from discussions on candidatesâÄô policies to mudslinging through their surrogates. It is in this atmosphere that the veracity of McCain campaign ads are brought into question or the latest âÄúgaffeâÄù from Sen. Joe Biden is bandied between talking heads. If politicians want special treatment from the media, the solution is simple: stop hiding, start talking.