ROCHESTER, NH -- "We no longer expect the media to do their jobs," one of McCain's top aides told me yesterday. "We're just going to have to do it for them."

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Media-bashing is a time-honored tradition patented by Republicans in the 1970s as a key feature of grievance politics. So successful, in fact, that it's become a mainstay of the new liberal activism. Unlike other conservatives, until now, McCain hasn't had to worry about bypassing the media and hasn't been a media decredentialist. (Truth is, the media, like most other major American institutions, has been slowly losing influence since the 60s.) Today, sensing an opportunity to get Republicans on board, the campaign is sponsoring a contest. They want readers to choose the long song that best expresses the press's rapture for Obama.

Here's the leader



This is part-feint, part-passive-aggressive jab, part political tactic. Campaign officials sincerely believe that the media has completely abandoned its objectivity and collective responsibility. Not that they've given the media the benefit of the doubt: since the beginning of the campaign, McCain's team has sent out regular e-mails criticizing news coverage using all the familiar tropes.

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