By Patrick Appel
Has McCain run the sloppiest Republican campaign since Dole '96? Sure; I don't think you can look at how he wasted his four-month honeymoon during the Clinton-Obama fight and conclude otherwise. But convincing voters that the media is unfair to him is the most impressive trick McCain has pulled. This is a campaign that, seven months ago, was rebroadcasting Tim Russert's description of McCain's heroism in its TV ads.
I don't think McCain's comeback would have been possible had the political press not been scoring points for him all throughout 2007. His comeback was willed into existence by reporters; you could find helpful analyses of what he could do to win as early as July last year. It's part of what makes the Obama-McCain battle a fair fight, not a hopelessly lopsided fight: Both men are beloved by the press in a way no one's been since, arguably, Carter in 1976. Seriously, look at the way the ridiculous Wesley Clark story was covered this month and try to argue that the media's being unfair to McCain.