Perhaps the New York Times' editors had asked Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny to write something more-or-less objective about last night's debate, and they are fine for the first several paragraphs, but then they slip into a bitter and disgruntled mode:
Mr. McCain, in the kind of misstep that no doubt would have been used by Republicans against Mr. Obama, mangled the name of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and he stumbled over the name of Pakistan’s newly inaugurated president, calling him “Qadari.” His name is actually Asif Ali Zardari.
That is a bitter assumption based on absolutely nothing, a cheap shot at Republicans, and by extension, John McCain. It has no place in an objective news article because, well, it is not objective news. McCain mangled a few names; as reporters, these two clowns should have reported this and left off the snide remark about the Republicans. A bad reporter biased in the other direction could have written: "Mr. McCain, the kind of misstep which no doubt will be injected into the campaign by Obama strategist David Axelrod…"
They watched the debate safely from their own little dream world:
Mr. McCain was feisty and aggressive but, particularly during the start of the debate, his language and demeanor offered a reminder of just how much he was a creature of the Senate, as he used phrases that were no doubt understandable in Washington but might have been lost to the audience at home.
Their evidence for this sweeping statement? John McCain used the term "earmarks." This makes him a product of the Senate, the Times clowns declare, because no one outside DC understands what the term means. The New York Times regularly uses the term earmarks almost daily. Does this make the paper a "creature of the Senate"? No. Nagourney and Zeleny wanted to paint John McCain as a figure of the status quo when surveys show that most voters clamor for "change." Obama is their agent of Hopechangehope, described as "calm and in control and seemed to hold his own." McCain is dismissed as a product of the beltway.
John McCain, the man who angered both establishments and movements, is not a product of the beltway, he's not a "DC insider." For a product of Chicago's ward politics, though, Obama has won dozens of DC Miss Congeniality awards.
There is more daft commentary designed to make a point, and our Times writers end their piece with an Obama quote:
A few moments later, Mr. Obama responded: “John mentioned me being wildly liberal. Mostly, that’s just me opposing George Bush’s wrongheaded policies since I’ve been in Congress.”
End of story. Earlier, they declared that Obama's goal was to portray McCain as an extension of Bush, and their final line is used a supposed example of him doing just that. They have declared Obama the winner without saying: "By the way, Obama was the winner."
But remember, the effort they put into getting their journalism degrees, their years of reporting, was all a buildup for this one moment. As journalists, they know that it is their duty to elect Barack Obama. With these journalists, I think, their message is intentional.
(The story was supposed to be "straight news." Honest.)