On Tuesday, John McCain's top strategist Steve Schmidt described the New York Times as a "pro-Obama advocacy organization" (see Jeff's piece and mine). He pointed out that the once-venerable paper was "no longer a standard news organization." And he was right. And they might – perhaps, perhaps – have heard him.
On their front page today, the Times reports something we thought we would never see on their pages, a criticism of Barack Obama.
No kidding!To wit:
In all, Mr. Obama has released at least five commercials that have been criticized as misleading or untruthful against Mr. McCain’s positions in the past two weeks. Mr. Obama drew complaints from many of the independent fact-checking groups and editorial writers who just two weeks ago were criticizing Mr. McCain for producing a large share of this year’s untruthful spots (“Pants on Fire,” the fact-checking Web site PolitiFact.com wrote of Mr. Obama’s advertisement invoking Mr. Limbaugh; “False!” FactCheck.org said of his commercial on Social Security.)
Some Democrats expressed concern that Mr. Obama, in stretching the truth in some of his advertisements, was putting at risk the “above politics” persona he has tried to cultivate.
To be certain, Obama has exposed the lie of his "'above politics politics' persona" with a stunningly relentless consistency, but it is progress of a sort, methinks, that the NYT confesses that this is it has happened at all.
Of course, the paper has to go through its usual bilious whining before it reaches this point. The story begins
Two weeks ago, Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign gleefully publicized a spate of news reports about misleading and untruthful statements in the advertisements of his rival, Senator John McCain. Asked by a voter in New Hampshire if he would respond in kind, Mr. Obama said, “I just have a different philosophy, I’m going to respond with the truth,” adding, “I’m not going to start making up lies about John McCain.”
Yet as Mr. McCain’s misleading advertisements became fodder on shows like “The View” and “Saturday Night Live,” Mr. Obama began his own run of advertisements on radio and television that have matched the dubious nature of Mr. McCain’s more questionable spots. [emphasis my own]
The paper then quotes Bill Adair, editor of PolitiFact – run by CQ the St. Petersburg Times -- as declaring that he's given his "Pants on Fire" award to Obama only once, while McCain has been so awarded six (6) times. (Adair differentiates between false and "ridiculously false." I find some ridicule about to emanate from my fingertips, the clowns, so I'll leave that alone. I might receive a "Pants on Fire" award, at which point I'd have to respond: "I am rubber, you are glue, bounces off of me and sticks to you! You're not the boss of me!" Cooties, etc.)
But let's lay off the sour grapes. Let's absolve the New York Times of their ongoing history of bias and slander. Let's not give them the "Five Pinocchios" award. The Times' rehabilitation will require a Twelve-Step program, and they are edging a little bit closer to completing the first step: admitting that they have a problem. If they do not complete this program soon, more of their readers will read something else, their advertisers will continue to see that they've been wasting their money, and the once proud American paper will cease to exist as we know it. I wish them the best, as they do have plenty of talented people on staff who need to learn how to focus their energies on reporting the news without the amateur op/ed under their bylines.