Sullivan should probably recognize that a press corps trying to wrangle an interview with an elusive V.P. candidate (and hamstrung by a McCain campaign petrified of a "General Whatshisname" moment) isn't at all analogous to a state-run media run by an illiberal band of Putin lackeys. As I have previously written, throwing the word "fascist" around willy-nilly is intellectually lazy and, more often than not, historically illiterate. But so is accusing the American media of being no better than outlets controlled by the Kremlin, or those remaining independent journalists whose reporting is influenced by credible threats of violence.
Who is he kidding? We have someone who could be elected vice-president in less than two months and tomorrow it will be two weeks since she was anounced and still no-one in the press is allowed to even ask her a question in an uncontrolled setting.
This has never, ever happened before in modern American politics. Never.
Given the fact that she is a total unknown, given that the convention was very late historiclaly, given that we have less than two months to figure out who to vote for, the denial of access is both an outrage to transparency and democracy and also, deeply, deeply troubling about what it says about what the McCain camp believes is her competence level.
Yes, this is the spirit of Vladimir Putin. I wrote not that we were living in Putin's Russia but that John McCain is giving us a "taste" of what that's like. John McCain - the man who prided himself on access, on answering any question, on talking to the press, even when we'd grown a little bored of talking to him. What happened to that guy? Who kidnapped him and replaced him with this creepy, sealed off, bullying press management?
We, of course, have a First Amendment. It's just that John McCain is treating it with contempt.
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