If you want to try a thought experiment, how about a little "shoe on the other foot." In today's edition, we're going to pretend that John Kerry was a Republican, and that John McCain was a Democrat. What would the press make of that?
Obviously, McCain would be deemed by the press as simply too unstable for the American people to trust. "Questions" about his fitness for office, especially in a moment of crisis, would "linger." Even if Democrats were foolhardy enough to actually nominate him, the press would persist in showing every old clip they could find of Viet Nam vets in the shadowy jungles, and feature every MD and PhD they could find to talk about the high levels of PTSD and other disorders faced by practically all Viet Nam vets.
Kerry, on the other hand, would be complimented for his height and overall "military bearing." We'd be shown clips of how he looked in uniform (and of course with his short hair), and we'd be told that his heroism and bravery in action were such that the Democrats would never look "strong" on "national defense."
"Shoe on the other foot" is one of my favorite games. It almost always helps to highlight the mental handcuffs that limit most mainstream press people from thinking independently and critically. On the next installment, maybe we'll do "If Hillary were a man," or "If Barack were white."