Thursday, February 21, 2008

# Posted 5:24 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

NY TIMES 2008 = DAN RATHER 2004? The most interesting thing about this quasi-scandal is how reluctant liberals are to side with the Times. Matt Yglesias says that:
"...thinking more clearly past my loathing of John McCain, the Times's effort to substitute innuendo for making a straightforward true or false assertion is seems like a pretty shameful attempt to set up a Kaus-like presumption of guilt. If they have reporting they're willing to stand behind of a McCain-Iseman affair, they should publish it. And if, as seems to be the case, they don't have the reporting, then they shouldn't write the story.
If Matt had his druthers, the Times would drop the pseudo-sex scandal and focus on McCain relationship with Ms. Iseman client, Paxson Communications. According to Matt, no laws were broken, but McCain is a hypocrite who sells his votes to lobbyists while denouncing others for doing the same.

Do I buy it? My hunch is no, but I never heard of Paxson Communications until this morning, so I can't exactly say just yet that Matt's anti-McCain prejudice is getting the best of his judgment.

Over at Washington Monthly, Kevin is offering a round-up of opinions rather than one of his own. Since Kevin is all about evidence, I figure he would say somethin in defense of the Times if there much evidence in their article, but so far Kevin just has questions. The one point on which Kevin seems to think there is evidence is that the Times only printed the story to prevent The New Republic from printing it first. Funny how the Times never bother to report that story, even though it went ahead with its attack on McCain.

Kevin also links to a post by Josh Marshall, in which Josh expresses his confidence that the NY Times knows what its doing, even though at the moment there is negligible evidence to support its case. Josh's instinct tells him that:
I find it very difficult to believe that the Times would have put their chin so far out on this story if they didn't know a lot more than they felt they could put in the article, at least on the first go. But in a decade of doing this, I've learned not to give any benefits of the doubt, even to the most esteemed institutions.

Equally telling, though, is the McCain camp's response and their clear unwillingness to address or deny any the key charges of the piece. (Read the statement closely. It's all bluster.)
I'm not sure about that interpretation of the McCain response, but I was quite interested by the opening lines of Josh's post, in which he writes:
This afternoon, before the Times story came out, I was working on a post about national political reporters' tendency not to give much of any scrutiny to various McCain flipflops, contradictions and bamboozlements. Obviously, the terrain has changed a bit since I started writing that one...
Well isn't that an understatement. In addition to Josh, Matt Yglesias has been working to build the meme that the press is soft on McCain. Now, I've never doubted that the press was relatively soft on McCain compared to his GOP rivals, but that's not exactly surprise. But I think it was fairly predictable that the media was going to change it's tune once McCain went from maverick to GOP candidate.

For some actual enthusiasm about the Times' efforts, the place to head is the Daily Kos. DemFromCT thinks the current meta-scandal will sow further division within a GOP that is already unhappy with its candidate. In contrast, Kagro X mocks conservative pundits for their rush to unify behind McCain and attack the Times. Kagro's lists of targets includes McCain-bashers such as Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, so I guess DemFromCT was a little off the mark. Interestingly Kagro doesn't actually defend the Times' journalism. He just accuses the GOP of rushing to approve equally poor work that targets Democrats.

Politics is full of surprises, so I won't be placing any bets on how all of this turns out. But if liberal reactions are anything to go on, McCain may be the winner yet again -- and no longer have to worry about conservatives who once dismissed him as a darling of the liberal media.

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(4) opinions -- Add your opinion

As much as I love a good DC sex scandal, I see absolutely nothing here in that regards.

However what I take from the article is a consistent pattern by McCain to be essentially a self-loathing conservative. Maybe that's the wrong terminology, but I keep seeing a pattern of him doing something he knows is morally/ethically wrong and then once he gets caught he apologizes, and then lambasts his colleagues for not cleaning up their acts like he has. And remember, he was 44 yeasr old in 1980, and 54 in 1990. He loves to claim how he's wise and has good judgement, but christ, why the hell has it taken him so long to figure things out?
Josh M needs to pull his head out of the sand there in DC. He is reading like a real kool-aid drinker. "the most esteemed institutions" HA, I would like to see that list if the NYT is on it. I almost choked on my single-malt when I read that opinion. Maybe he was joking...riffing on senator speak.
OxBlog salutes single malt! Can't get any where I'm at, at the moment, though.
You must be in the sandbox or maybe with Britney in rehab. Here is to reality.
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