The New York Times at its Best (Indeed)

I’m still dumbfounded by the New York Times’ audacious front-page report about Sen. John McCain and an improper relationship he allegedly had with a female lobbyist. And when I say “dumbfounded” I am not claiming surprise at the clear bias the Times held in what appears to be a very calculated news release; rather, I am referring to the shock I received when I realized that one of the world’s most respected newspapers published a front-page piece that lacks the foundation one would expect to find in a high school research paper.

“A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.” – New York Times

Did I mention that this allegedly occurred eight years ago? Yes, folks. The New York Times published an eight-year-old story on its front page. And since we’re digging up old news maybe we should speak about the sexual allegations (i.e. rape) that were brought against former President Bill Clinton by Juanita Broaddrick. But, I suppose the Times isn’t interested in such folly, since being allegedly tied to a lobbyist is apparently much worse than being accused of rape. But I digress.

Coincidently, the Times would have had no problem finding former McCain campers who were more than willing to speak about the allegations presented, yet they chose to obstain from interviewing anyone who disagreed with their political inclinations:

“Dan Schnur, McCain's communication director during his 2000 presidential bid, told CNN on Thursday that he was involved in most high-level situations and that such a problem almost certainly would have ‘landed on my desk’.”

At what point did it seem appropriate – ethically or journalistically for that matter – to publish a piece without viable sources? And it’s quite unsettling to note that the paper did not quote the individual in question (especially considering that the McCain camp provided the Times with countless pages of documentation). It’s as though Cindy Sheehan and Nancy Pelosi got together for a late-night slumber party in the Times newsroom to pen this ideal-type example of liberal media bias. One wonders what the executive editor of the New York Times have to say about the piece?

“The story speaks for itself.” - Bill Keller

He’s right. The story speaks volumes. Not only does it fit perfectly into a never-ending puzzle of liberal media bias that can be easily assembled with countless examples of New York Times blunders, but, and perhaps more importantly, it takes this bias (which the paper incessantly denies) and expands it to such great proportions that, regardless of party affiliation, one cannot help but admit the unethical actions taken by the Times. But don’t take my word for it; for corroboration please re-read the New York Times vs. General Petraeus conundrum that manifested months ago.

Let’s not forget that this is the paper that proudly claims to publish “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” Ironically, a quick read-through typically possesses the same talking points one can expect to hear at this year’s Democratic National Convention – so if the Democrats are the only one’s who spout off news and views that are fit to print, I suppose the Times is accomplishing what it has set out to do. So much for democratic and non-partisan newsrooms.

And the hypocrisy of groups like MoveOn.org and AlterNet is unbelievable, but consistent with past actions. Both organizations have been more than willing to attack FOX News on occasion, but have, ironically, become entirely mute when overt examples of media bias come from their neck of the woods.

Actually, allow me to realign that statement: These organizations have actually stepped forward to corroborate these bogus liberally driven stories, in place of defending democratic action. It’s apparently okay for the Times and other mainstream outlets to unfairly attack the right, but when FOX News does it, all hell breaks lose. Take, for instance, a headline (video) on AlterNet just this morning: “The Real McCain: Senator Gets Millions From Lobbyist ‘Friends’.” And, no, I won’t link to it.

The core of the issue is not whether the New York Times purposefully or unintentionally acted journalistically irresponsible. No, the true issues at hand are the perceptions present amongst reporters and editors at the Times. If the “newspaper of record” believes that it is fair and balanced to publish pieces that err on one side of the political spectrum, then there’s a serious problem we (and the news media) have to confront.

And if the news media don’t realize that they are publishing skewed works, we have an even bigger problem. The New York Times has not only published an abhorrent piece, but it has also steadfastly stood by it. Disgraceful to say the least.

I can’t help but wonder what Dan Rather is thinking right now.