Over the years I have frequently been critical of The Arizona Republic as the “McMedia” because of its fawning idolatry of Senator John McCain. The Republic was John McCain’s loyal media flack.
After Senator McCain’s passing, I had hoped that The Republic might now shed its reputation as the “McMedia,” but boy howdy, was I ever disappointed. It’s worse than ever.
In recent months, there have been regular reports on members of the McCain family, and even the family dog, on an almost daily basis. It’s like the McCain family owns The Republic and forces it to report celebrity gossip about them, like they are the celebrity reality TV stars the Kardashians, or someone equally as vacuous. Just check out the search results for “McCain” on The Republic’s website.
Of regular interest is the poor little rich girl who is the daughter of a beer distributor heiress, Meghan McCain, whose only claim to fame and celebrity status is trading off of her father’s famous last name. Somehow this socialite is qualified to be a pundit on the daytime talk show “The View” (after a previous stint on Fox News).
Jacob Bacharach in a commentary writes what we all think to ourselves but never put into words: What have we done to deserve Meghan McCain?
I cannot bring myself to hate Meghan McCain. What would be the point? She is the natural endpoint of a giddily vacuous celebrity culture, a sort-of famous person who plays a sort-of famous person on TV. She frequently says stupid and hateful things, but they always seem uncalculated, and she is endlessly surprised to find that people disagree with her. (One suspects that the household staff never did, and now that she’s wandered off the compound and into public life, she can’t quite seem to grasp that not everyone is a family retainer.) Like most privileged mediocrities, her sense of moral conviction is perfectly befuddled.
McCain is one of the hosts of the beloved kitchen background noise generator, “The View,” where she has been known to pound the table and yell, “I’m John McCain’s daughter,” as though she were there for any other reason. John McCain, you may recall, was a famously corrupt senator who reinvented himself as a “maverick” by very occasionally bucking his party’s line and by very frequently flattering reporters. Upon his death last year, he was hailed as a moral hero for having personally disliked Donald Trump. Meghan McCain also personally dislikes Trump and often compares him unfavorably to “my father, John McCain.”
As is the case with all two dozen or so remaining “Never Trump” conservatives, Meghan’s natural audience is the national media [as was John McCain]. There is no other actual constituency for these beliefs. Anyone who rejects what Trump stands for must reject American conservativism as a whole, because he is its apotheosis: crude, atavistic, vengeful, unlettered, greedy, racist and mean. The “Never Trump” tendency just rejects the crudity, in principle ostensibly, but in reality simply for the practical reason that his transparency about the conservative political project constitutes a dangerous form of honesty.
Meghan McCain ostentatiously rejects the very prospect that “John McCain’s daughter” could be racist, although she is married to a man, Ben Domenech, whose also-ran conservative content farm literally aggregated stories into a “black crime” vertical. It’s hard to imagine that McCain ever actually read The Federalist—or much of anything, for that matter—so it’s probably reasonable to accept a plea of ignorance here. As is the norm in America, her ability to consider the existence of racism is limited to considerations of whether or not any particular individual is a racist. Generally, she assumes they are not. The very word is “the worst thing you can call anyone,” she contends, especially if that person happens to be a Republican.
McCain has internalized the popular conservative jujitsu of flipping accusations of racism by declaring that leftists are the real racists. This is how she stumbled tuchis-first into the manufactured Ilhan Omar controversy, turning a relatively calm discussion between several of her television co-hosts about the appropriate limits of criticizing Israel into a weepy soliloquy about how deeply felt the issue is to her, personal friend of Joe and Hadassah Lieberman, a Baptist woman who “probably verge[s] on being a Zionist as well.” It was plain that she very nearly said “Jewish.”
Every Jew knows at least one of these people, who think that because they went to your bar mitzvah and watched a lot of “Seinfeld,” they are practically Jewish themselves. McCain’s self-anointed ersatz Jewishness then squared itself when the Jewish satirical comic artist, Eli Valley, drew her as one of his classic grotesques: cartoon Meghan proclaiming her own self-anointed ersatz Jewishness! It was, McCain said, “one of the most anti-Semitic things I have ever seen.” Oy gevalt!
But such is the inexorable logic of television “news” programming that once a person talks about a topic, he or she becomes a person who gets invited to speak on said topic. And so McCain found herself one of George Stephanopoulos’ roundtable panelists on “The Week” to discuss, among other things, rising anti-Semitism in the wake of another violent right-wing attack on Jewish worshippers, this time in Poway, Calif.
She immediately took the opportunity to say that if we are going to talk about anti-Semitism, we must also talk about Omar—the vile, racist implication being that a black Muslim woman who has offered some frankly milquetoast criticisms of Israel is a greater “threat” to Jews than right-wing nationalism. In a twist that is both disturbing and embarrassing, it now seems likely that the Poway shooter also committed arson at a mosque. The truth is that American Jews and Muslims are each other’s natural and necessary allies in the deadly conflict with white nationalism, but conservatives at least tolerate white nationalists in their coalition and hate Muslims, so hurt Jewish feelings are used as a cudgel against the latter while the former’s body count is conveniently ignored.
UPDATE: NBC’s Seth Meyers grilled Meghan McCain over her ongoing attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) — and “The View” co-host didn’t like it. Seth Meyers calmly dismantles Meghan McCain over her attacks on Muslim congresswoman:
McCain linked Omar’s remarks to the Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting in San Diego, during an appearance on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” and Meyers called out her comments as irresponsible given the violent threats faced by the Muslim congresswoman.
“You keep bringing up the two tweet that she’s apologized for, and I think that’s a little unfair to her,” Meyers said. “Especially because we’ve established –“
McCain bristled: “Are you her publicist?”
“What?” Meyers said, incredulous.
“Are you her press person?” McCain shot back.
“No,” Meyers said, “I’m just someone who cares about the fact that there’s someone out there who in a minority, had death threats against her, and I think we should all use the same language that you’re asking her to be careful about her language, and I would ask everybody else to be careful about theirs.”
McCain found herself at a loss for words.
“Okay,” she stammered, as the crowd cheered. “All right. I’m not sure what, what would make you happy coming out of my mouth right now? I’m really curious.”
Wait for it …. naturally Meghan McCain’s Husband Ben Domenech Goes on Unhinged Homophobic Rant Against ‘Cuck’ Seth Meyers:
The View host Meghan McCain seemed pretty uncomfortable by the end of her contentious appearance on NBC’s Late Night on Tuesday night. But for the most part, she was able to keep things cordial with host Seth Meyers.
Then, a few hours later, early Wednesday morning, her husband shared his unfiltered thoughts about the interview on Twitter.
In a series of since-deleted tweets, Ben Domenech, the founder and publisher of conservative website The Federalist, went on an unhinged rant against the late-night host and former head writer for Saturday Night Live that was at times homophobic and at other times suggested that Meyers has only succeeded in comedy because he is a white man.
“I see that @sethmeyers, the untalented piece of shit who only has his job because he regularly gargled Lorne Michaels’ balls, went after my wife tonight with his idiotic anti-Semitic bullshit,” Domenech wrote.
He was referring to the most tense section of McCain’s interview with Meyers, in which the host called the comments she had made about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s supposed anti-Semitism “dangerous.”
“I stand by every single thing I’ve said, and if that makes me unpopular in this room or in front of you, so be it,” McCain defiantly said, as Meyers attempted to diffuse the tension by finding “common ground.”
By the end of the 11-minute sit-down, McCain was accusing Meyers of treating her unfairly and he was insisting that he was just trying to understand her point of view. “I’m perfectly happy with everything that’s coming out of your mouth, and I like that we spent this time together,” he told her.“
Seth is an awful person who is known within the industry for how terrible he is,” Domenech baselessly tweeted. “He is a monumental asshole who is utterly unfunny. He deserves the mockery he receives from all the people who laugh at him.”
“Here is proof that white men get ahead despite their obvious lack of talent,” he continued. “It’s @sethmeyers, who would beg for a third of the viewers at @TheView. He’s awful, untalented, and a perfect definition of a cuck,” he added, referring to a popular far-right pejorative.
And then: “But the best thing is how much all the people around @sethmeyers talk about what a shitty person he is. Because oh, it is sad. So terrible. But he deserves all of it.”
Reached for comment, Domenech declined to either defend or disavow his comments and instead attacked The Daily Beast, writing via email: “We don’t give comments to places that publish Cheri Jacobus.” He was referring to a former GOP consultant who has penned one opinion piece for this website.
He had more to say when asked for clarification on his comments by Mediaite. “Seth Meyers is trash,” Domenech said. “I believe this steadfastly and have for years. He only has his job because of sucking up to the right people. He is an untalented hack. My reference was obviously metaphorical and that’s it.”
Subsequently, Domenech posted on apology on Twitter for “rage-tweeting” while again calling Meyers a “hack.”
The irony of Domenech “joking” that Meyers “regularly gargled Lorne Michaels’ balls” is that earlier this year The Federalist fired columnist D.C. McAllister for making homophobic comments to reporter Yashar Ali. “A gay man commenting on a heterosexual relationship is just. Sad. Pathetic really.” she tweeted. “I think @yashar has a crush on me. Maybe I’m making him doubt his love of penis.”
“In response to your many inquiries, we’ve spoken and Denise McAllister will not be writing for us at The Federalist any more,” Domenech tweeted at the time.
It’s remarkable that her tweets were deemed too homophobic for a website that has recently published articles with headlines like “Pedophilia isn’t the Main Problem with Catholic Priests, Homosexuality Is” and “Christianity Can’t Be Stretched to Endorse Homosexuality.”
Jacob Bacharach concludes:
What qualifications did McCain have to talk to the nation—at least, the approximately 1% of the nation that watches Stephanopoulos on a Sunday—about anti-Semitism? None. But what qualifications did Chris Christie or some random Clinton campaign apparatchik have, either? Expertise is not the currency of television infotainment.
In this respect, McCain is one of the purer representatives of the medium in which she works. She has not traded on political notoriety and insider glad-handing to get herself into the green rooms. She is John McCain’s daughter, a genuine reality TV star and a pundit in precisely the sense that the buff alcoholics of “Vanderpump Rules” are waiters and bartenders. What a grim fate, not to have been born so much as cast.
Please. Just make it stop. John McCain is dead and gone and he ain’t coming back. Just because one bears his last name is not a qualification for anything. I do not care to hear about the celebrity reality TV stars “The McCain’s” anymore than I do “The Kardashians.” Stop being the “McMedia.’