Ed Driscoll

Sympathy For The Maverick

Roger L. Simon confesses, “When I read this morning on the Drudge Report that the New York Times had rejected John McCain’s op-ed, I think I knew how he was feeling. I too have been rejected by the paper”:

In my case it came after having written for them successfully several times, notably a couple of humorous essays I did for the New York Times Book Review about my travels to the Soviet Union and Spain with International Association of Crime Writers, so I was particularly hurt by their rejection of an article the magazine section had commissioned from me in early 2003.

The subject of that article? The burgeoning interest in political blogs. I took the position that such bloggers as Glenn Reynolds and Mickey Kaus were becoming more influential with readers than newspaper columnists and would soon be a serious alternative to (though not a full replacement for) mainstream media. The Times turned it down. As with McCain, they asked me to “try again” and I did–but I soon realized I had a message they didn’t want to hear or promote.

So it came as no surprise to me that the paper nixed John McCain’s view on Iraq, wanting him to explain what “victory” meant. (How risible is that after all this time!) Despite its pretense of even-handedness, the Times is no more “fair and balanced” than Fox News or anybody else. No media outlet is. They try to hide it by publishing select political opponents like David Brooks, but that is no more than smoke screen. Bias is as American as apple pie. (Come to think of it–bias is as human as breathing.)

As I wrote back in 2004, after the Times’ then-ombudman wrote, “Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper? Of course it is”:

Okrent’s admission has repercussions throughout virtually all of America’s media. For example, the New York Times finally admits it’s liberal, but still carries the motto, “All the news that’s fit to print”.

What does that do to the folks who claim that because Fox sometimes tilts to the right (don’t tell Geraldo and Greta, though) that they shouldn’t be using “fair and balanced”?

Of course, the Times doesn’t know it (well, maybe they do now), but in a sense, they did McCain a huge favor by generating sympathy for McCain amongst his base, which often doesn’t feel all that simpatico with their candidate. But thanks to the Times, –“You’re a real conservative at last, Maverick!”

Meanwhile, Greg Pollowitz notes the op-ed that ran in place of McCain’s.