Helping and not helping: Meghan McCain and the media

Mandi Gosling

Helping: Meghan McCain

With the release of her book “Dirty Sexy Politics” this week, author and columnist Meghan McCain is a moderate breath of fresh air in an increasingly partisan political climate.

McCain chronicles her experiences on the campaign trail with her father, John McCain, and her ultimate ousting from the campaign bus five weeks before the 2008 presidential election after campaign managers deemed her “too controversial.”

Her book maps out how the GOP must step back from its extremist viewpoints to win young voters back to the party base.

She’s helping because she is initiating a movement toward the middle of the aisle at a time when the Tea Party Express is gaining steam as it gathers people toward the extremely non-negotiable right.

She encourages more moderate views, including the legitimacy of climate change and support for gay marriage and immigration amnesty.

Not Helping: The Media

What should have been a mere blip on the news radar turned into an epic national debate when the media handed Terry Jones, a fanatical Christian pastor in Gainesville, Fla., a virtual worldwide bullhorn to promote his “Burn a Koran Day,” originally slated for Sept. 11.

Taking Jones’ bait, media outlets across America took one insignificant, cult-leading crackpot and, albeit arguably, made him an influential player on the national political stage.  Siding for or against the pastor’s plans became the question asked to all of the country’s decision makers, which wasn’t helpful because it added further legitimacy to his plans and distracted them from actually doing some work.

The media has added fuel to the “Islamaphobic” fire by pitting Jones’ obscure Quran-burning plans against the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” which is neither a mosque nor is it at Ground Zero—it’s an interfaith community center that would be built more than two blocks away from the former World Trade Center site.