Before McCain Was Their Hero Fighting Trump, Media Called Him Unhinged Racist


You can tell a lot about the weather by looking at what the wind is doing — and you can learn a lot about politics by noticing how narratives change over time.

The political winds have shifted a lot when it comes to the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, particularly from the liberal media. McCain, of course, died on Saturday after battling with brain cancer.

Tributes and acknowledgments poured in from across the political spectrum, with mourners ranging from George W. Bush to Barack Obama offering kind words about the long-serving senator and military veteran.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with being civil when a man like McCain passes, even in light of the objections many differences have had with him in the past.

Somewhat surprisingly, the left also took the opportunity to put the former Republican presidential candidate on a pedestal … but the way the same liberals attacked him just a few years ago is an eye-opening example of how narratives work.

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When you compare how left-leaning outlets spoke of McCain after his death versus when he was alive, it’s hard to think of a more dramatic 180-degree reversal in tone.

Two photos show McCain in unflattering and flattering ways.
Left: A picture the Huffington Post used to illustrate 2012 piece titled “The Unhinging of John McCain.”
Right: Part of one of the photos the leftist website used in a mourning spread titled “17 Photos to Commemorate John McCain’s Life.”

There seems to be one common theme: The same outlets that savaged the senator a decade ago are now singing his praises now that they can use his passing to take shots at President Donald Trump.

That’s exactly what several pundits including independent journalist Mike Cernovich pointed out on Twitter. A series of screenshots demonstrate how eagerly outlets like the Huffington Post trashed and slandered McCain when he was a leading Republican, only to seemingly develop bipolar disorder the moment he died.

“They all hated McCain, now they use his death to attack Trump. It’s a bunch of lies,” Cernovich wrote. He backed that opinion up with a series of tweets from Cher, the celebrity singer and outspoken leftist.

Cher — while not noted for her towering intelligence — called McCain a “teabagger” and implied that he was Nero in 2013. She also suggested that he was some sort of hell-bent demon, declaring “SULFUR FOLLOWS HIM WHEREVER HE GOES!”

Fast forward to this week. Suddenly, the same Cher was defending McCain and scolding President Donald Trump for not commenting on the senator’s then-impending death. It seems the singer had suddenly found a soft spot for the “teabagger” the moment he could be used against Trump.

Then there’s the Huffington Post.

“Compare what the media is saying about McCain to what they said – in 2008 – when it actually mattered,” Cernovich pointed out. “Today oh they love the guy, but when he was running for POTUS, they called him a Nazi, racist, white supremacist, and mentally unfit for office.”

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Other commentators made similar points, providing numerous screenshots of articles then and now to show the contrast.

“Huffpo 2008: McCain mentally unfit to he president Huffpo 2012: McCain a racist and a woman hater Huffpo 2018: McCain a bipartisan american hero,” posted one user. Over 10,000 people re-tweeted that comparison.

It’s an interesting contradiction: If leftists truly believed that McCain was a racist, sexist demon who was losing his marbles 10 years ago, why are they so concerned that Trump has been critical of the same person and a foil to the Arizona senator since taking office?

Do you think leftists are being two-faced in their newfound defense of McCain?

And, if liberals now believe that McCain was a great figure whom we — including the president — must all adore, why did they savage him during the last decade?

The answer, it seems, is that the liberal narrative shifts as it is needed. It is blatantly two-faced. There is no consistency, no firm foundation or standard by which they judge politics or people.

“How can we spin this to smear our opponents today?” That appears to be the motto of the modern left.

It’s not terribly surprising, but it is deeply distasteful, especially when real human beings like John S. McCain are the ones caught in the crossfire.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.