MediMcCain

Michael Scherer explains how the McCain campaign plans to release medical records in a manner carefully calculated to make it as difficult as possible for accurate information about McCain's medical history to reach the public:

The actual medical records will be viewed by only a select few news organizations, and even fewer print reporters. According to a report in the New York Times, the pool that will view the actual medical records Friday morning will include reporters from the three national wire services, the Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg, as well as the major television networks, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and Fox. Only two newspapers are scheduled to be allowed access, the Washington Post and the Arizona Republic. While prior McCain campaign pool events have included a spot for a newsmagazine reporter, no reporter from TIME, Newsweek or U.S. News will be allowed to view the records, the campaign confirmed Thursday morning. All print reporters traveling with the campaign will receive a pool report of the records review, which will be written by pool reporters.

On top of all that, this is going to be done on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend so that stories will run on one of the lowest-audience news days. A responsible reporter doing a story on McCain's medical records would, of course, want to obtain the actual records and then discuss the documents with, say, independent doctors who might have actual expertise on the matter. Even really great campaign reporters obviously aren't qualified to look briefly at some medical documents and draw any meaningful conclusions from them.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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