In eulogizing the recently departed Jesse Helms, many praised the former senator from North Carolina for always standing up for what he believed in. He certainly did -- Helms never apologized for his racist beliefs, and there is little evidence he ever renounced them. Just why anyone should be admired for advocating despicable ideas unapologetically is less than clear, but, if nothing else, no one could mistake Helms for anything but what he was.
"Sure, reporters have a soft spot for John McCain. But they've been pretty kind to Barack Obama, too. So what's going to happen now that two politicians they like are running against each other?" As I've been out promoting the book I co-wrote about McCain and the media, I've been asked some version of this question dozens of times. The premise is partly true, in that Obama has enjoyed some periods of positive coverage over the course of this campaign, but there was never any comparison between Washington reporters' feelings for the two presidential contenders. What happened last week with Gen. Wesley Clark made that all too clear, as do some emerging narratives that are moving right from the McCain campaign's mouth to reporters' pens.
In honor of Independence Day, take a moment and check out what is probably the greatest rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner ever delivered. The song is widely agreed to be a musical abomination, almost impossible to sing in a pleasing way, no matter the talent of the singer. But there is at least one exception: