06/11/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Newshunt: The Media And McCain

Just two days ago NewsTrust and HuffPost's OffTheBus announced the McCain NewsHunt, a joint effort aimed at evaluating news coverage of Sen. McCain. It's our first project with OffTheBus and it's already off to a roaring start. More than seven hundred people have climbed on board, and the sign-up meter keeps tick-tick-ticking. In less than forty-eight hours the team has reviewed close to six hundred McCain news-related articles. Special thanks goes out to several OffTheBus members who've each reviewed more than ten stories -- Paul Peete, Harv Roth, Cat Bemis, Andrew Spencer, Ardent Hollingsworth, and Andrew Urban.

As NewsTrust"s community developer and a member of its editorial team, I've volunteered to post updates about our news hunt to this blog. I'll be posting along with Kaizar Campwala, NewsTrust's associate editor, and Amanda Michel, OffTheBus's fearless leader. If you haven't already, we encourage you to sign up and join forces with us to find the best media coverage of John McCain.

In her invitation to review McCain stories on NewsTrust, Arianna pointed out that "the more stories you review, the more clear-eyed our look at the way the media are covering McCain will be." So what does that coverage entail so far, two days into our news hunt?

Our early results on NewsTrust's John McCain topic page point to a couple issues, judging from the highest-rated stories so far (click on any of the links below to review these stories as well).

First, media attention is starting to focus on McCain's divergence from his image as a reformer. Our top-rated mainstream media piece,
Campaign Calls; A Nonprofit Steps In
" by the
Washington Post's Robert O'Harrow Jr., looks at how McCain's top veteran affairs adviser also serves on the board of directors for Citizens Against Government Waste; this organization partnered with Northrop to produce "a vitriolic advertising campaign" defending a defense contract that McCain favored -- a contract that had been drawing heat from Democrats and labor representatives. Another case in point is "Foreclosure
" by David Corn in Mother Jones, which reports on McCain adviser Phil Graham's anti-regulatory campaign and its contribution to the mortgage meltdown. And "2 Senators for
McCain Leave Group After Ads
" by New York
reporter Michael Luo recounts Lieberman and Graham's roles on the policy advisory board of a 527 group, Vets for Freedom.

Another issue has been McCain's support of the war in Iraq. The Washington Post's Michael Dobbs wrote about McCain's mistaken allegation that the troops had decreased to pre-surge levels in "McCain, the Surge, and 'verb tenses'," while New York Times opinion writer Frank Rich reviewed McCain's position on Iraq in his "McCain"s McClellan Nightmare." Interestingly, in "The National Security Debate," Robert McMahon of the Council on Foreign Relations, finds that "some foreign policy analysts assert there is unlikely to be a dramatic shift in Washington's national security positions regardless of which major candidate wins."

On Monday, June 2, John McCain spoke at the powerful pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC identifying Iran as what a major problem. "Who Is John McCain?," by Michael Tomasky at the New York Review of Books, looks at McCain's rhetoric whereby he labels Iran as a "rogue state." Interestingly, despite McCain's efforts to paint Obama as naive for his willingness to engage enemies in conversation, Foon Rhee at the Boston Globe reports in "Americans favor talks with enemies, poll says" that the most recent Gallup poll found that 67 percent of Americans support the president meeting with leaders of countries considered US enemies; 79 percent of Democrats think so, as do 70 percent of independents and slightly less than half of Republicans.

Last but not least,, which looks at media trends, recently reported in "While Democrats Battle on, McCain Makes News" that after being treated as a bystander, McCain is finally being covered again by the press. Just in time for our John McCain news hunt ...

These are just some of the stories and issues we've uncovered so far on NewsTrust's John McCain News Hunt page.

Here at NewsTrust, we look forward to working with all of you for this important news hunt. Let's see what the media is reporting (and what it isn't), so that we can learn more about John McCain's character, his views, his campaign and his background -- and make more informed decisions as citizens. Join us today. We've still got five days to go, and a lot of work ahead of us.

I also blogged this over at NewsTrust.

Beth Wellington - NewsTrust Community Developer

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