John McCain's early love affair with the press has been well-chronicled. He was a "maverick" most loved because he went against his own party--best loved, in fact, when he produced legislation like McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform.
As Rich Lowry points out, they liked him for more than just that, they liked him because he gave them such extensive access.
Since 2000, John McCain had thrived on his irrepressible chattiness with the press, talking about anything reporters wanted for as long as they would listen. The press loved the access and avoided “gotcha” coverage, letting McCain explain any seeming gaffes. The arrangement worked beautifully for both sides — until McCain became the Republican presidential nominee.