Veterans of John McCain’s presidential campaign of 2008 lamented a maddening process that only worsened as that election season progressed. A liberal blog would make a stunning allegation about McCain or, later, Sarah Palin that was not easily verified or disproved. Within an hour or two, a major newspaper reporter or television news producer would call the campaign and demand a comment or denial; the clock was ticking to avoid the dreaded “the McCain campaign had no comment,” which suggested evasiveness or a de facto confirmation of the often bogus or wildly exaggerated claim.
Patrick Hynes, who was an online-communications consultant for McCain, recalls Sam Stein of the Huffington Post calling about a rumor that McCain had been involved in a car accident that killed someone shortly after returning from Vietnam, and that military authorities had somehow covered up the entire incident.
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