A maverick, as all of us familiar with the Hollywood West surely know, is unbranded beef on the hoof. By extension, it is a person who resists labeling, an independent, a rebellious soul. (Etymology states that the term comes from Samuel A. Maverick, one of the founders of Texas, who refused to brand his cattle.) American politics now has one maverick-in-chief, John McCain, the Arizona senator currently running for president. David Brock (an ex-conservative and something of a maverick himself) and Paul Waldman (a columnist for The American Prospect) contend that this characterization of McCain has little to do with his scattered breaks from Republican doctrine. Instead, they argue, the pervasive and flattering portrayals of the senator are due to his apparent willingness to treat journalists as buddies, and to say things that sound candid and unscripted. As the presidential campaign progresses, the skeptical are starting to question this cliché, speculating that McCain is closer to a standard-issue Republican. But the references to him as a maverick go on, undiminished and unthinking. Whether the authors are right or wrong about the red-carpet treatment given to the candidate, there is no doubt that journalistic laziness has let the M word become McCain’s very own, let’s say, brand.
09:00 AM - August 26, 2008
Short reviews of books about the run-up to World War II and the media’s coverage of John McCain
#Realtalk: This isn’t another ‘golden age’ for print - But it is one for media
Social media in smaller markets - How three social media managers deal with smaller markets and more local coverage.
A rally for laid-off Sun-Times photogs - A protest Thursday morning drew about 150 picketers to the newspaper’s headquarters
Reporting, or illegal hacking - Scripps reporters are accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
Exchange Watch: California Dreaming - Low healthcare premiums on the West Coast were trumpeted as a big, good-news Obamacare story. But: “Compared to what?”
The bold journalist died in a car accident in Los Angeles
On the journalistic value of being “a dick”
Buzzfeed’s statement on the death of its reporter
The disappearance of ‘Sports of the Times’
On the eve of two related SCOTUS decisions, how should journalists be covering the issue?
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.