John McCain’s trip to Des Moines produced two stories:

Exhibit A is the Des Moines Register’s take on things:Article on Des Moines Register

Exhibit B, the AP, through the lens of CBS News:Associated Press versionThe Headlines

Exhibit A: On message, if a bit testy, McCain stands on his record

Exhibit B: McCain Irritable In Newspaper InterviewRepublican Presidential Candidate Sarcastic, Seemingly Frustrated In Interview With Des Moines Register

On McCain’s demeanor

Exhibit A:

At the end, an aide stood up and said it was time to go. McCain sat still. “I can take a couple more,” and he ended by returning to a theme that he had hit over the previous 55 minutes: “Rhetoric is one thing, record is another, and I will stand on my record. I am proud of the campaign we have run, and I am very proud of my running mate.”

Exhibit B:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain, once renowned for his jocular sessions with journalists, appeared irritable and at times sarcastic in an interview in which he defended running mate Sarah Palin’s experience and campaign ads critical of rival Barack Obama.

On McCain’s take on Health Care:

Exhibit A:

Asked about his health-care proposals, McCain talked about how people must have ownership in paying for their medical care, quoting Ronald Reagan as saying “no one ever washed a rental car.” But, hasn’t he, in his long career in government, always been covered by government health care?

McCain paused, then said: “You know, that’s an interesting question, isn’t it?” He went on to say, “I’ve never been an astronaut, but I understand the challenges of space.” He was covered for “most of my life in serving my country,” but he smiled, and added, “There was a time when health care wasn’t very good.” Everyone knew what the former prisoner of war meant.

Exhibit B:

He also sarcastically referred to his five years as a prisoner of war when answering a question about his having government-financed health care throughout his military and congressional career.

“The answer is that most of my life, in serving my country, I have had health care,” he said. “I did go for a period of time when the health care wasn’t very good.”

The shame of it all is that unless you are scouring the Internet for actual journalistic work, you never, ever, ever will see the Des Moines Register’s take on their own freaking interview unless you get the newspaper. 99.9% of the United States gets stuck with the AP’s take on someone else’s parade, where they will take a very tough, fair interview and turn it into a bunch of GOTCHA questions and answers.

The American people deserve better.