Monday, February 25, 2008

More on the NY Times' McCain Smear

Scott Johnson at Powerline today on the NYT’s McCain Smear - - - -

Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei purport to explain why conservatives did not look kindly on the New York Times's report that someone thought John McCain may have had a romantic relationship with a pretty blonde lobbyist ten years ago:

Conservative leaders often portray their political mission in moralistic terms: right vs. wrong. But their reaction to a news report that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) might have had an inappropriate relationship with a female lobbyist shows the activist right is often animated by a different impulse: us against them.
Given the fact that the "romantic" element of the story was one which the Times's public editor himself found indefensible, Allen and VandeHei's thesis is remarkably lame. This is all they have to say about the story's patent flaws:
[The] Times made it easier for those who wanted to justify, rationalize or defend McCain’s actions. The paper did not definitively prove McCain was involved in an inappropriate relationship. It used an indirect and elliptical article to suggest more than it proved. Then, the paper tucked the allegation into a story that rehashes other examples of McCain contradicting his claim of being a trustworthy reformer.
When it comes to the Times, Allen and VandeHei seem not to have been paying close attention to recent history, or they still believe in the tooth fairy:
The Times’ reporters and editors involved in this story are top-notch. (What Allen and VandeHei mean by top-notch is the NYT reporters and editors share the same political ideology as Allen and VandeHei and gossip with them. - JinC) Such stories usually only go into the paper when reporters and their editors feel certain they are true — because they know a vicious response will likely follow.
Allen and VandeHei's faith is touching, but the thinness of the Times story struck readers across the political spectrum. Conservatives above all are disinclined to believe accusations made by the Times against Republicans based on the evidence of things not seen. No larger theory for their judgment on the Times's story is necessary or warranted. …..

The rest of Johnson’s post is here. It includes links which let you compare Allen and VandeHei's lame analysis of the reaction to the Times story with more thoughtful and fact-based analysis such as "Times back making up the news" and "Anatomy of a smear"

I almost LOLed when I read Allen and VandeHei’s : “Conservative leaders often portray their political mission in moralistic terms: right vs. wrong.”

Really? Liberals don’t do that? Leftists don’t do that? Dems don’t do that?

When I read an “analysis” that starts out telling me “Conservative leaders often portray etc….,” what I see in my mind’s eye is a large highway sign: