Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

McCain not too happy with reporters

And can anyone really blame him? After all, the Times hit-piece on the front page of yesterday's paper had originally been deemed "dead" by editors, as they could find no corroborating facts. Then, a month after they endorse him, they lower the boom on him with a story that, wel, in short, "there's no there there." It was bogus. And if you cruise through the 'Sphere, you'l see others have discovered that the two people they spoke with were former McCain staffers that weren't exactly on great terms with the Senator.

So what happens when you're bitten by the people you thought you could trust? You give them the cold shoulder, and point them the way to the couch. "Get used to it, bub, because that's where you're sleeping from now on."

John McCain’s campaign plane is usually a pretty jovial place to be. The senator, his family and aides sit in the first few rows, while the press is stationed in the back of the plane. On most days, the two sides openly mingle, with reporters sometimes able to sit close so close to the front that they can hear McCain and his aides talking strategy.

But in the aftermath of today’s New York Times story looking at McCain’s dealings with a Washington lobbyist, the mood is decidedly different. Before McCain boarded his plane, reporters were asked to sit farther back than usual on the plane. And when McCain finally boarded the plane, he failed to offer his usual wave at reporters and opted to quickly take his seat. During the flight, the cabin was unusually quiet, save a few quick discussions McCain had with top aides Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter. Near the end of the flight, Schmidt came back to the press cabin, where, with cameras off, he railed against the New York Times for publishing its story. “The Times in a post-Jayson Blair, post-Judith Miller world… went through a painful period of self-evaluation,” Schmidt said. “That went out the window yesterday with this piece on John McCain...This is much more a story about journalism than a story about John McCain.” When reminded that the Washington Post also published a story today, Schmidt shrugged. “The Washington Post piled on (but) the Washington Post didn’t instigate the story,” Schmidt said.

Is the Post getting a pass? Schmidt says no, but there’s a reason that the McCain campaign is targeting its ire solely at the Times: There’s no other paper more reviled on the right than the Gray Lady. And the story has earned McCain a level of sympathy from some of his toughest critics, including Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, both of whom have lambasted the paper for publishing its account on McCain today.


This was the dumbest mistake the Times could have puled. Why? Because now McCain has sympathy on his side. Hannity, Limbaugh, Ingraham, and an untold number of starboard side blogers who reviled him have now stepped up and come to his defense. Some are still sitting back and saying "When you lie with the dogs, you wake up with fleas." Fine they're welcome to their opinion, but this was low-brow politics. It was a hit piece designed to inflict maximum damage to the frontrunner. Granted, it's no Rathergate -- 44 days before the general election -- but it clearly shows the inherent bias at the times, or just plain stupidity.

They used innuendo to push a story about possible, alleged impropriety on John McCain's part. Throw in a rather attractive lobbyist, set up two staffers who supposedly went out of their way to warn him off, and it looks like the old man might have been preparing to have a fling.

But none of it was true. It was petty gossip that should have no place in a major news publication. But, as Captain Ed notes:

Hey, at least the Times carried McCain's denial in today's edition .... on page A20. Run the smear on the front page in a two-column box; run the response in the back of the news section. Sounds like the kind of journalism that makes Tom Shipley proud!

Sounds like A-typical, modern-day, mainstream media cover\age to me. Shesh, no wonder why they're having problems.

Publius II

1 Comments:

Anonymous Jerry Hoskins said...

Can you be an educated republican and use spell check? You may have good content, but I can not read your commentary because it makes you look like you never graduated.

February 22, 2008 at 6:35 PM  

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