Although he didn’t have a winning track record in presidential elections, 1972 Democratic presidential nominee and former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern had no problem critiquing the media for lack of substance.
McGovern, an anti-war icon of the left in the late 1960s and early 1970s, appeared at the National Press Club in
McGovern told reporters that the changing news business – offering more media outlets – led to too much coverage, causing “saturation” and over-analysis of the candidates on the campaign trail.
“Well, it is a fact that we have saturation coverage on candidates these days,” McGovern said. “You have three or four thoughtful people examining what it meant that Hillary [
McGovern said that too much competition among numerous outlets – versus the three TV networks of his era – were causing the media to give too much credence to details of the campaign.
“I think the, when you’ve got all these cables and all the networks and everybody else competing for a breakthrough, you get enormous coverage on the details of the campaign,” McGovern said. “I personally would like to see more thoughtful debates.”
McGovern also offered some criticisms of the
“That war is about as popular as AIDS around the world in other capitals and it’s hurt us a great deal I think,” McGovern said. “There’s almost no support for it anywhere. So, I think there’ll be an improvement there. I think also people around the world – most of whom are not white – are going to take a renewed sense of accomplishment in seeing a black man in charge of the most powerful country around the world.”
Despite McGovern’s hyperbolic comparison, he said his faith in the
“I’ve always thought this is the greatest country in the world – I still think that,” McGovern said. “We have to be great because we make these enormous blunders like
Even with the obsessive media coverage McGovern criticized, he said he still thinks presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama,
“Not simply because I’m a Democrat and a supporter of his, but I think Barack is going to win this election,” McGovern added. “I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t. I’m not always too reliable on predicting how the election’s going to come out, but that’s what I think.”