No Challenger? No Challenging

In case you haven’t had enough Ongoing Democratic Primary: Who Benefits and Who Is Damaged analyses, here is the lede from the Associated Press’ contribution:

John McCain’s standing in the presidential race grows stronger each day as he benefits from the increasingly personal and extraordinarily protracted Democratic nomination fight between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

A few paragraphs into the story, the AP’s Liz Sidoti downgrades her “growing stronger every day” certainty, calling the situation “an overall boon” or “opportunity” for McCain.

One reason it might be a “boon?” According to one former aide to President Clinton, Sidoti writes, McCain “benefits because there’s no Democratic nominee to challenge him on his missteps.”

Reporters, of course, can’t possibly “challenge” a candidate on “missteps” without prompting from an opposing campaign (uh, we’ll need a she-said to go with that he-said…)

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.