First, there's making the media freak out that they're being too positive towards your opponent. Are the Republicans and their various creatures doing that? Hoo yeah. Just look at your typical right-leaning editorial cartoon these days.
Second, there's feeding them false stories to prove "bias". Digby has the story on that: specifically that "won't meet the troops" set-up that McCain has been exploiting to the hilt.
And here's an interesting bit she quotes from TPM:
Okay, this is interesting: It looks as if the new McCain ad falsely attacking Obama over his canceled troop visit may not really have a lot of money behind it, suggesting that its real purpose isn't getting it before voters directly.It's not for us. It's for them. You set them up, get them nervous, get them freaked out, and then toss them a lifeline. Of course, said lifeline is completely bullshit so they're still screwed, but they're still gonna grab for it.
Rather, the real target audience may be the media -- meaning that the McCain camp's goal is largely to get the ad debated in the press and to drive the conversation that way.
Evan Tracey, who tracks media buys at the Campaign Media Intelligence Group, took a look at the McCain buys and discovered that an earlier McCain foreign policy attack ad, as well as the troop visit attack spot launched this weekend, are running in almost no battleground-state markets, with the new spot only running in Denver and Washington, D.C.
Edit: extra bit from one of her comments:
For a preview of the next few months, compare the Democratic response to this slander against Obama with the Republican response to Wesley Clark's statement that "getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is [not] a qualification to become president."Well, I hate to say it, but part of it is because Dems still think that, somehow, rational and reasonable argument will win out against exploitation. Unfortunately, it usually doesn't. And it REALLY doesn't if you play the "I don't think this is that important, it's a tempest in a teapot, ignore it and it'll go away" card. No, it doesn't go away. It never goes away.
The Republicans still own the corporate press/media. That means that they can coordinate messaging, publish and broadcast lies and smears, and prevent any criticism or counter-narrative.
By August 15th, Obama's disdain for the troops will be accepted as fact throughout the corporate press/media. Hell, I fully expect him to apologize for this by Friday.
They should have stood up for Clark. It would have made a difference in how this story was handled. They should have attacked the attackers without waiting.
But they didn't. They never have.
I don't know why not.
Don't expect Queensbury rules when your opponents are facing oblivion.