One pretty good sign that the media treats John McCain much more favorably than the McCain campaign would have you believe is the obedience with which the media uncritically reports the campaign's complaints about coverage.
Case in point: Politico's Jonathan Martin has an article about McCain's attacks on the media, in which he includes this line:
McCain's campaign has also put its words into action, stripping CNN of an opportunity to interview the candidate after what it felt was unfair treatment of an aide in an appearance Monday on the cable channel.
Why does the McCain campaign think the treatment was "unfair"? Martin doesn't tell you. What happened? Martin doesn't tell you. Was it unfair? Martin makes no effort to help readers determine that -- he just "reports" that McCain's camp says it was unfair. Kind of skews things in McCain's favor, doesn't it?
What actually happened in that interview is that McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds touted Sarah Palin's experience as head of the Alaska National Guard, at which point CNN's Campbell Brown asked him for an example of a decision Palin made in that capacity. When Bounds couldn't or wouldn't come up with one, she asked again. That doesn't seem "unfair" to me; that seems like journalism.
And the Politico's decision to simply type up the McCain campaign's complaints without giving any indication of what actually happened seems more like stenography than journalism.