The war on America (2008) has begun ... The New York Times fires the first shot and suggests in a poorly written and unsourced article that John McCain has innapropriate contact with a female Washington insider.
First, I don't know the details and can only then react to the story and Senator McCain's press conference moments ago. I have to say that average Joe will find Senator McCain pretty compelling.
Second, what's with the timing? If the New York Times wanted to hurt his chances of getting nominated, this story would have broken two months ago, right? So, what is the reason for attacking once he's wrapped up the nomination?
Some comments dug up at Pardon My French:
Jim Geraghty: “No identified sources? No on-the-record sources? All we get is ‘according to two former McCain associates,’ presumably that reference to one Senate, one campaign.” http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=N2RmMGQ2YmJkODAzMTdhODAyNWFiZmEwNDZhNjBjZDk=
Jennifer Rubin: “Remarkably, the Times’ online reader comments suggest a high dose of skepticism about the sourcing and value of the story.” http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/category/contentions
Marc Ambinder: “ … nothing to suggest that McCain compromised his political principles.” http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/02/mccainlobbyist_story_in_the_ne.php
Power Line: “Tomorrow's story is just one more reminder of why no sophisticated person takes the Times seriously as a news source.” http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/02/019842.php
Rich Lowry: “The Times doesn't have the goods—at least from what's in the story—and shouldn't have run it.” http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NTNiNGYwOWI0YjY1OGJkMDdjOTgyODA3NjAwYWVkMGQ=
Daily News: “It's all there - except a clear and firm direct allegation, let alone proof.” http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2008/02/21/2008-02-21_tales_tall_on_innuendo_short_on_proof-1.html?print=1&page=all
Phil Klein: “ … the NYT doesn't seem to have the goods on anything actually done wrong.” http://www.amspec.org/blogger.asp?bwd=8&byear=2008#11642
Rutenberg Declines Interview
At 6:51 AM this morning, I e-mailed Jim Rutenberg– whom I know and have interacted with in the past–to invite him onto my radio program “Meet the New Press” on Saturday morning to discuss the sourcing of his New York Times hit piece on my client John McCain.
At 7:24 AM Rutenberg declined my invitation in an e-mail and indicated—without my even asking—that no one else at the Times was likely to come on, either.
It seems very odd to me that after having “broken” (broken, indeed) a big story about a major national figure, a story that is capable of impacting the 2008 presidential election, no one at the Times has any interest in discussing the story any further, especially considering so many have expressed such deep skepticism about its sourcing and the value of its content.
Let this blog post stand as an open invitation to any and all reporters and editors at the Times: If anyone there has any interest in defending the paper’s integrity and answering the many questions readers have about its sourcing, I have an open microphone for two hours on Saturday morning.
Looks like NYT won't be taking any interviews
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