Flattery Will Get You…

Reading the transcript of Sen. McCain’s speech at the AP annual meeting yesterday, I was struck by how much time and effort McCain (even for this venue) devoted to stroking journalists’ egos— at the expense of stump speechifying and BitterGate bloviating (a couple of paragraphs for each at the end). Know your audience, I guess.

On his decision to support the shield law:

To be very candid, but with no wish to offend you, I must confess there have been times when I worry that the press’ interest in getting a scoop occasionally conflicts with other important priorities, even the first concern of every American — the security of our nation…There will be times, I suspect, when I will wonder again if I should have supported this measure. But I trust in your integrity and patriotism that those occasions won’t be so numerous that I will, in fact, deeply regret my decision.

There was an excessively walking-on-eggshells-ish, bending-over-backwards-to-befriend tone to the entire speech, particularly for someone who is already friendly with the press corps. Then again, conspicuously absent from the text of yesterday’s speech? “My friends.” Not a one.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.