Bernstein: McCain Hurt by Becoming a 'Captive of the Right Wing'

An emerging preview of the post-election media spin that McCain lost because he moved too far to “the right,” with his pick of Sarah Palin as the smoking gun? On Monday night's Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, veteran journalist Carl Bernstein, now a political analyst for CNN, contended McCain is “in the difficulty he's in” because “he's really become a captive of the right wing of his party and its agenda and it shows, particularly through the pick of Sarah Palin.” Bernstein's supposition came three days after Bob Schieffer of CBS News blamed McCain's situation on how, after the primaries, “instead of moving to the center, he moved to the right. He put Sarah Palin on the ticket which pleased the right but...”

Bernstein, formerly with the Washington Post and Time magazine, lamented on the Monday night/Tuesday morning CBS show: “I think he's abandoned the principles of his campaign in 2000 and that's probably why he's in the difficulty he's in.” He elaborated:
The campaign of 2000 was built about being a really independent-spirited American politician and now he's really become a captive of the right wing of his party and its agenda and it shows, particularly through the pick of Sarah Palin.
My October 25 NewsBusters item, “CBS's Schieffer: McCain Doomed Because 'He Moved to the Right,'” recounted:
Just after CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric noted how there is "some finger-pointing already going on" in the McCain-Palin campaign, CBS's Bob Schieffer did a little finger-pointing of his own as he blamed John McCain's presumed impending loss on his supposed move "to the right." Schieffer observed Friday night that "with this continuing bad economic news, I think it's going to be very hard for any Republican, even one who says he's a maverick, like John McCain." The host of Face the Nation then offered his take on "what's going to make it even harder," that after the primaries: "Instead of moving to the center, he moved to the right. He put Sarah Palin on the ticket which pleased the right but, as we're now seeing in these polls, her appeal does not go much beyond that."
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center