John McCain

The media’s love affair with a John McCain that never was

The media’s love affair with a John McCain that never was

There are two John McCains. The first is the well-curated PR image of a straight-talking, principled maverick war hero who skirts partisanship in favor of doing what’s right. The second John McCain, the three-dimensional one who occupies reality, is a reliable partisan conservative who loves war and occasionally says things mildly critical of his own party. Over the last week, in the interest of politeness and nationalist myth-making, our media has overwhelmingly focused on the former at the expense of fidelity to history.

It’s easy to understand why pundits would go easy on or even praise McCain, a longtime senator from Arizona who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and who...

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