Thursday, February 21, 2008


Partisan Times Slimes McCain

While indignant centrist to conservative critics taking on the NY Times for an obvious aged-and-saved hit piece on John McCain, Andy McCarthy offers counterpoint, writing at the The Corner.

No, he hasn’t echoed leftward critics, reliably chomping on the bait and spinning all manner of slurs and innuendo. Rather, McCarthy asserts that the primary reason McCain expressed disappointment in the Times, was that McCain has for years grown accustomed to more favored treatment as quo for quid:

Senator McCain appears to have been smeared by the Times. I'm sorry that happened, but if indignation is the order of the day, count me out. You see, I also feel sorry — really sorry — for the intelligence officers who've been maligned as torturers, for those who want the immigration laws enforced and are libeled as racists, for those who doubt the wisdom of campaign finance reform and are glibly scandalized as promoters of public corruption, and so on. Each of these Gray Lady smears has a common thread: John McCain has been only too happy to help, and to bask in the resulting glow: the Times' very own favorite Republican.

The Senator's reaction says it all: he's "disappointed in the New York Times." Of course, we can only be disappointed by those from whom we expect better. McCain expects better from the Times because he's accustomed to getting it, and he's accustomed to getting it because he's been very good about holding up his end of the bargain — especially when it comes to demagoguing the Right. The Times is a politicized rag and no one should take satisfaction in seeing McCain subjected to its journalistic version of waterboarding. I only wish I were convinced the Senator would learn the right lesson from this experience. I'm not.

If the political Left in America possesses a tragic flaw particularly graver than others, it is this proclivity for shunning genuine debate in favor of rhetorical assault.

Yet somehow, for the ever-aggrieved progressives, reasoned, logical criticism of statements and positions gets labeled political attack, from evil origins, take your pick: racism, misogyny, corruption, militarists, faux-patriotic rogues, and so on.

J. Peter Freire, writing at American Spectator, explains the media bias back story for the Times piece:

Make no mistake: The Times story is thinly sourced, and heavy on already-reported information. Admittedly the former is necessary to investigative political reporting, and drives campaign teams up the wall (which makes it worth it). But the timing is key. According to Jonathan Martin and Jim Geraghty, this article had been leaked to Drudge in December, when it was to be published among other articles in a series ("The Long Run") about the candidates running in the primaries. At that time, the Times had already published a rather favorable piece about McCain as a father. The editors, apparently, decided to hold this story rather than run it earlier, with the bulk of the series, which places them (and not the reporters) squarely in the center of yet another bias controversy. Those flames were fanned by Matt Drudge's headline: "NOW THAT HE'S SECURED NOMINATION: NYT DOWNLOADS ON MCCAIN."

That would be the favored DNC political attack stratagem: build up and cozy with the candidate you least fear (and perhaps in the case of McCain, feel is easier to manipulate) before the opposition candidate emerges; then, when nomination looks secure, unload with the real ammunition.

In this case, how does the editorial behavior of the NY Times deviate in any way from that wished by media consultants for the Democrats? The NYT might as well be a DNC press release. (Though I’m surely not surprised.)

(Spectator piece via Instapundit, lots more coverage at Memeorandum.)

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