[Guest post by DRJ]
First, responding to Schmidt’s comments, Obama’s national press secretary Bill Burton labeled any claim that the New York Times is in the tank for Obama as “laughable.” Burton listed 42 “probing articles” published by the New York Times as evidence that the Times has not given Obama a pass. The titles of those 42 articles are at the link but they don’t strike me as hard-hitting unless “Charisma and a Search for Self In Obama’s Hawaii Childhood” [New York Times, 3/17/07] counts as hard-hitting.
Second, the Politico’s Michael Calderone published editor Bill Keller’s response as well as Calderone’s take: That the enmity between the McCain campaign and the New York Times began with a story about McCain’s “alleged relationship” with a lobbyist — a clear reference to the Vicki Iseman story — suggesting the McCain campaign can’t take the heat of a political campaign. Naturally, Calderone neglects to mention that the New York Times’ own Public Editor believed the Times crossed the line with the Iseman article. Calderone was also confident enough in his narrative to state that Schmidt’s comments were a “a sure-fire way to drum up support among NYT-hating Republicans.”
Third, also from the Calderone link, here’s Keller’s response on behalf of the New York Times:
“The New York Times is committed to covering the candidates fully, fairly and aggressively. It’s our job to ask hard questions, fact-check their statements and their advertising, examine their programs, positions, biographies and advisors. Candidates and their campaign operatives are not always comfortable with that level of scrutiny, but it’s what our readers expect and deserve.”
Finally, here’s my translation: The McCain campaign thinks the New York Times is in the tank for Obama, while the Obama campaign thinks anything short of adulation passes for hard-hitting journalism when it comes to Obama. Meanwhile, the New York Times believes it’s untouchable.