I participated in on today’s press conference call with John McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis and senior adviser Steve Schmidt. Much was said that was of interest, but most striking to me was Schmidt’s teeing off on the New York Times. My notes reflect that he said something along the following lines:
The New York Times is a pro-Obama advocacy organization, not a journalistic organization…the Times attacks McCain every day…the Times is an organization that is completely in the tank for the Democratic candidate…that’s their prerogative, but let’s not be dishonest, everything in the New York Times should be evaluated by the American people from that perspective…the Times has decided to cast aside its journalistic integrity and history and advocate for one candidate, and against the other.
No doubt a transcript will soon be available, but you get the drift. The McCain campaign has expressed unhappiness with the Times in the past, but I think this is the first time it has explicitly called out the paper for abandoning any pretense of journalism in favor of partisan advocacy on behalf of its chosen candidate. It’s about time.
UPDATE: Here’s the audio.
FURTHER THOUGHTS: The McCain camp’s long-overdue retaliation against the Times was not entirely spontaneous. They must have calculated that the Times’ reputation has fallen so low that it is now safe to call the paper’s reporters and editors what they are: political operatives, not journalists. That has been obvious for a long time to anyone who actually reads the Times, but the McCain campaign apparently believes that some sort of tipping point has been reached, and that most people–the sort of people who learn about press conferences, anyway–will understand that as a news organization, the Times is illegitimate. The chickens, in short, may have come home to roost.
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