Steve Schmidt, chief McCain strategist denounced the New York Times as a ‘pro-Obama advocacy organization’. Ever since the announcement of John McCain‘s VP, Sarah Palin, the strategy from the McCain camp has been simple: shoot the messenger.
It all began with a New York Times article today — not on the front page — that tied Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager to receiving nearly $2 million in payments in the past five years to run a firm defending Fannie May and Freddie Mac and others. It sparked a remarkable conference call with reporters in which Steve Schmidt, chief McCain strategist, hit back at the Times, charging that it is no longer even a journalistic operation but a propaganda organ for Barack Obama.
Subject — attacks on the New York Times. I’m sure there’s a simple answer to this, and it’s just eluding me: If the McCain campaign says, on the record and before the national press, that the New York Times is not a legitimate news organization, or a journalistic enterprise at all, but a political action committee working for Obama (and that is what Steve Schmidt said to reporters; listen to it…) then why does the Times have to treat the McCain crew as a “normal” campaign organization, rather than a bunch of rogue operators willing to say absolutely anything to gain power and lie to the nation once in office? I mean, really. How far can you stretch, “they’re just blaming the messenger, a common tactic when frustrated…?” Does that kind of placid response cover all cases? At what point does an extreme attempt to de-legitimate the press actually de-legitimate the candidate as an extremist in the eyes of the press? Does anyone know? And if no one knows, how can the press even cover the McCain campaign? I know there’s a good, sound, at-the-ready answer to these questions; I just can’t think of what it is. So Romenesko readers, help me out! If the McCain campaign says the Times is not a legitimate news source why does the Times have to treat McCain as a legitimate candidate?
Well Jay, it’s kind of like calling a girl a slut in order to get her to sleep with you. If she does – you were right. If she doesn’t – you’re a douche.
We hope the NYT doesn’t. Then we all know what that makes Schmidt.