Sunday, October 19, 2008

Looking at the McCain Marriage

I agree with Glenn Greenwald -- with whom I rarely disagree and who we have on the show often -- up to a point about the odd profile of Cindy McCain in the NY Times yesterday.

It's true, as Glenn notes, that the front-page, above-the-fold story was gossipy and innuendo-laden in how it talked about Cindy McCain (including her being so thin) and the McCain marriage. However, on the marriage itself, as I noted a few months back, John McCain -- unlike, say, Bill and Hillary Clinton -- opens himself and his marriage up for dissection by the media because he backs amendments in states to define marriage (and keep gays out) and adheres to a "family values" political agenda in the Republican Party. He is publicly promoting a policy agenda that establishes an ideal for marriage -- something that should rather, as Glenn notes, be a private issue -- and thus his own marriage, if it does not live up to that ideal, is a story.

The problem with the Times story is that most of the information was rehash; it focused mostly on Cindy and was presented in a sensational manner; and it was laced with innuendo. If you're going to put forth the idea that their marriage is one of convenience and imply that John McCain may have had a woman or women on the side, then bring forth the facts, properly sourced, and explain why it's important. No, it is not off limits -- not with McCain's record on defining marriage for others -- but it needs to be shown to be relevant, and true, based on substantiated fact.