Don't Follow The Money

If you're looking for a savvy-sounding but deeply, deeply implausible explanation for why John McCain is a media darling, I recommend the notion, advanced by Mark Kleiman and seconded by Matt, that media types suck up to McCain because he's a longtime member of the Senate Commerce Committee, where he's presided over an era of media consolidation that (to quote Kleiman) "has greatly restricted citizens' access to diverse points of view while greatly enriching the media barons who own the networks, TV stations, and cable companies." Or as Matt puts it: "McCain getting good coverage from the corporate media is in part something just along the lines of James Inhofe being well-liked by the energy industry."

Anything's possible, I suppose, but based on my (admittedly limited) experience in the media business, I have a hard time imagining a plausible account of how, precisely, the "let's stay on McCain's good side" sentiment supposedly harbored by "media barons" filters down to impact day-to-day coverage. Particularly since it's hard to detect any pattern of pro-Commerce Committee media bias when you look at the full list of committee members. (I wouldn't describe John Kerry as a media darling, exactly.) I also think - along with Jack Shafer, among others - that the idea that our era of big-media consolidation has "greatly restricted citizens' access to diverse points of view" is risible on its face, but that's an argument for another time.