In “Repeat offender” Paul Mirengoff puts the hit piece by the New York Times on John McCain this week in the context of the Times’s Duke non-rape coverage. I think Paul’s judgment is that the Times’s McCain hit piece is even worse than the Times’s disgraceful coverage of the Duke non-rape case. I’m agnostic on which is worse, but Paul raises several relevant considerations and makes a powerful case.
The Times’s McCain hit piece can also be fit into the context of its 2004 campaign coverage. In the new issue of the Weekly Standard, my friend Steve Hayes does so in “New York Times vs. John McCain.” Steve recalls the Times’s absurd performance in the last week of the 2004 campaign:
Beginning on October 25, 2004, with just over a week left until Election Day, the Times ran 16 articles and opinion pieces about looting at the al Qaqaa munitions facility in Iraq. Some of the stories were implicitly critical of the Bush administration, others were directly so. The Times dismissed suggestions that the attention on the issue was politically motivated. But, as National Review‘s Byron York asked four months later: “Why was the Al Qaqaa story so important in the eight days leading up to the election that it merited two stories per day, and so unimportant after the election that it has not merited any stories at all?”
Those memories could not have been far from the mind of Scott Stanzel, a White House spokesman, when he rather surprisingly offered a comment on the current Times controversy: “I think a lot of people here in this building with experience in a couple campaigns have grown accustomed to the fact that during the course of the campaign, seemingly on maybe a monthly basis leading up to the convention, maybe weekly basis after that, the New York Times does try to drop a bombshell on the Republican nominee…Sometimes they make incredible leaps to try to drop those bombshells.”
Steve concludes: “Indeed.”
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