WaPo Whacks McCain's Wife, Grandfather

Ironic, or to be expected?  While the nets are busy fawning over Obama's Middle Eastern tour, acting like “Obama's Paparazzi,” The Washington Post tramples on John McCain's family.

Post writer Jonathan Weisman wrote an article devoted wholly to the roguish bootlegging and gambling activities of McCain's little-known maternal grandfather.  Another article by the Post's Libby Copeland detailed the difficulties and often painful struggles of Cindy McCain's life, juxtaposing her striving for perfection with her drug addiction and secrecy in her marriage.

The first sentence of Weisman's article, “McCain's Maverick Side: Grandpa Would Be Proud,” sets the tone for a indicting account of McCain's grandfather Archie Wright's criminal activities in the rest of the article.  Weisman describes Wright as one who “proceeded to raise Cain” when he moved to Oklahoma in 1900.

He goes on to say that little has been said about this side of McCain's family.  He writes:  “While much has been made of McCain's paternal lineage—the upstanding admirals of the Navy—less appears to be known about Arch Wright, who made a fortune on liquor, gambling and oil in Indian territory before relocating to Los Angeles with a sprawling clan in tow, including McCain's mother, Roberta Wright McCain.”

When he came to Muskogee, Oklahoma, Weisman writes that he was “a gambler and bootlegger and left a wealthy wildcatter,” after he “robbed” the Native Americans of their promised federal land through bartering with money and liquor.

Weisman includes a quote from Nancy Calhoun, a local historian at the Muskogee Public Library:  “He stood out in a town full of rascals.”

After hinting that the McCain family stays hushed about the life and activities of Wright, Weisman goes on to propose that Wright's brashness seems to be inherited by his daughter:  “But Wright's days of booze, gambling and scrapes with the law seem to have infused his daughter Roberta with her own cantankerous side.”

The majority of the last part of the article is devoted to detailing the number of criminal activities Wright was involved in such as his arrest and time in jail for operating a gambling place.  It also mentions that he was indicted for selling beer.

Towards the end of the article, Weisman asserts:  “Where Wright's money came from remains a mystery.”  He says that while a relative assures that the money came from buying and selling oil leases, Weisman concludes, however, that “there is no way to prove how those lands and leases came into his possession.”

Copeland's article on Cindy McCain, “The Perfect Part,” details the difficulties and struggles of her life, emphasizing the “distance and secrets” of her marriage with John McCain, while at the same time suggesting that she is shy but stubborn.

After devoting several paragraphs to Cindy McCain's founding of the American Voluntary Medical Team and then her subsequent theft of painkillers from her organization to fuel her addiction, Copeland provides a total of one paragraph to McCain's noteworthy philanthropic accomplishments.  She writes:  Today, she works primarily with Operation Smile, a group that repairs cleft palates and other facial deformities all over the world, and Halo Trust, a nonprofit that performs land-mine removal in countries affected by war.  She has been to Vietnam, Morocco, Angola, Kosovo and many other countries in her philanthropic work.  She is currently traveling in Rwanda with the One campaign, which raises awareness about AIDS and global poverty.”

Early in her article, Copeland juxtaposes McCain's strive for perfection with her drug addiction and secrecy from her husband.  She writes:  “The perfection of Cindy McCain is a theme that repeats itself in interviews with those who know her—this woman who hid her drug addiction from her husband for years, who fought her fear of campaigning via small planes by getting her pilot's license without telling her husband.”

Copeland continued to emphasize the lack of communication in the McCain marriage.  She details how Cindy McCain on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” “unintentionally” revealed the “distance and secrets in the marriage.”  Copeland then details how she shared that she and John lied about their ages when they met and that she hid her addiction and obtaining her pilot's license from him.

Copeland continued to emphasize the distance in their relationship, painting McCain as unsupportive of her husband.  For instance, Copeland mentions that someone close to the campaign suggested Cindy McCain should remain in Arizona to “maintain her own identity.”  Copeland then includes this comment made by Cindy McCain:  “You know, when John's around he sort of sucks up all the light.”

Copeland also reported that McCain at one point said that “she would 'get angry' ” when John wasn't there, but “'always at the situation, not him.'”

Copeland also portrayed Cindy McCain as stubborn.  Copeland says that she “refused to become a Washington wife” and decided to raise her kids back in Arizona.  In addition, she emphasized that she's been stubborn about her press, “granting interviews to the Chicago Tribune and Vogue but not the Arizona Republic, to Access Hollywood but not USA Today” and that she wouldn't give an interview for the article.

Another example of McCain's “stubbornness,” as Copeland sees it, was when she “stood resolutely” by McCain's side when “the New York Times published a story that raised questions about the senator's relationship with a female lobbyist.”

Copeland also sneered at the wealth of the family she was born into.  Copeland writes that McCain was “an only child, and a privileged one,” suggesting that today her wealth “may exceed $100 million.”  Later, Copeland mentions that McCain raised her children in the house she grew up in, but then adds in parentheses that “in 2006, the McCains moved to a large, $4.6 million condo in Phoenix.”

Copeland ends her article with a quote from an admiring fan but only after painting McCain in the rest of the article poorly.  One admiring woman said, “She's flawless, flawless.”

Julia Seward is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.