Are journalists allowed to criticize John McCain?

Those who offered a dissenting or realistic view on McCain were rewarded with abuse. Laura McGann, politics editor of Vox, unleashed a lava storm of protest with these critical words just a few hours after he died: “Today, I’m told, we should pretend John McCain didn’t pick Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008.” Thousands upon thousands of Twitter respondents denounced McGann for the temerity to offer a dissenting view on McCain as he approached death. Maybe somebody should forward the samizdat chapter of the AP Stylebook to McGann so she doesn’t issue another honest postmortem.

Journalists have long harbored a reputation for being hard-nosed cynics. But as the mourning for McCain proves, scratch their surface and sentimentality runs out of them sweeter than maple sap in the spring.