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Ear to the Ground

McCain Campaign Guru: N.Y. Times Isn’t ‘a Journalistic Organization’

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Posted on Sep 22, 2008
composite: and Flickr / Robert Scoble

Steve Schmidt is widely credited with re-energizing the McCain campaign with his tough and often deceptive style, but his latest is a bit much, even for a Karl Rove protégé. During a conference call with reporters, Schmidt accused The New York Times of being “a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day impugns the McCain campaign.”

Perhaps it’s not that Schmidt has trotted out that Republican cliché of attacking the paper of record—his tirade will surely earn McCain points on the talk radio circuit. What makes his otherwise predictable comments worth noting is that they fit a cynical pattern designed to intimidate the media—with which Schmidt was speaking—from doing their job.

His statements came after a question from CNN’s Dana Bash, who asked about a Times article that exposed the hypocrisy of one of McCain’s ads. We’ve seen this before: When held accountable, Team McCain often responds by attacking the media.


His lengthy broadside, prompted by an article Monday documenting ties between the campaign and lobbying for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was the latest in a series of grievances with the Gray Lady that that aides to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have aired publicly.

“Whatever The New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization,” Schmidt said. “It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day impugns the McCain campaign, attacks Sen. McCain, attacks Gov. [Sarah] Palin. It excuse Sen. Obama. …

“Everything that is read in The New York Times that attacks this campaign should be evaluated by the American people from that perspective — that it is an organization that has made a decision to cast aside its journalistic integrity and tradition, to advocate for the defeat of one candidate — in this case, John McCain — and to advocate for the election of the other candidate, Barack Obama.”

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By jamiedbruce, September 23, 2008 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

Certainly this country could not see the truth if it was right in front of them. That is why many believed the lies about the war even when the Press (the few that did) said it in plain english… and yet as we can see today all of the Schmitdts and the O Dars (see previous comment) of the world cry foul! May the right wing ideology and propaganda of hate crash and burn!

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By cann4ing, September 23, 2008 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

The wheels are coming off the McCain doublespeak express.

“One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

“One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

“Mr. Davis’s firm, Davis Manafort, had been kept on the payroll because of his close ties to Mr. McCain…”;&oref;=slogin

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By BaxterJ, September 23, 2008 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is just another tactic by McCain’s campaign to distance themselves from the “elite” and align themselves with the common man.

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By kath cantarella, September 23, 2008 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So the New York Times is telling the truth? That’s good journalism.

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By mill, September 23, 2008 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

I consider Steve Schmidt to be a prince of slime - his views are not worth knowing

Sad that McCain thinks “out-Bushing” Bush, using Karl Rove clones, is the way to win office and govern.

8 years is enough of their “style of political discourse” 

we need serious, intelligent, issues-oriented discussion among patriots of different points of view.  everything Steve Schmidt does undermines that, to our nation’s detriment

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By Will Seattle, September 23, 2008 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Give me a break ....Karl at least realizes he should complain on his own station FOX or the NY Post.  If you can’t say something nice about someone that someone (McCain) at least shut-up so his attack dogs like Schmidt don’t overreact when they don’t get their way!  The Republicans can’t own all the media all the time….

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By Purple Girl, September 23, 2008 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

He’d have been right if he was talking about Murdocks Wall Street Journal.
I didn’t need any media outlet to KNOW 9/11 was NOT an attack against US, It was the MIC they were After. I didn’t need media to tell me Exactly Who hates US fro our Freedoms- W and his puppetmaster DICK have made that blatantly Clear over the last 7 1/2 yrs.I don’t need the Media to point out what a treasonous bastard McCain is…He proved that during the Keating 5. I don’t need the media to tell me Macs POW ‘confession’ was a Lie, he can’t even keep the story straight (which NFL Team?). I don’t need the media to solidify my view Palin is a Heretic, her banging the War Drums (Iran, Russia- which Innocent civilians do you want to blow the shit out of in a pre-emptive strike?)is plenty of evidence.
I don’t need the media to Refresh my memory of the ‘70’s when we Demanded We get the Hell out of the Middle East- I still see that poor mans body being pushed out of the highjacked plane onto the Tarrmack in my minds Eye!I still remember Jimmy Carter telling US to turn down the thermostat and invest in a sweater! I still Remeber the last ‘Oil Crisis’ and the Lines which wrapped around the corners on Odd & Even Days!I don’t even need the media to reveal their bosses are corrupt Corp Whores- Bill O ,Rush and Savage have provided Well documented Evidence to that Fact!
I don’t even need the media to confirm McCain is Unfit for duty due to mental and physical debilitating factors..Stroke, Alzheimers or parkinsons ( also have Dememtia feature)- I see it in McCains eyes, his facila expressions, his unsteady gait, his rehab enhanced bilateral movements, his forgetfulness, his confusion, his short term memory loss, lack of linear thought. He can’t even give more than one sentence at a time before he must refer back to his Script.Granted he didn’t write it, It is not out of his mind it evolved, But he can’t even remember what the next Logical sentence should be!He Doesn’t grasp the Full context or direction of any of his Speeches. You don’t have to have written something to be able to Understand it, and be able to discuss it even if you loss your place in the script. McCain is as confused as Ronny was when he Left the WH!
Go tell your Story to the National Enquirer- they may buy your Delusional Bullshit, ScHmIdT !!

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By WARIS SHERE, September 23, 2008 at 9:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is indeed very sad and unfortunate for staff of John McCain’s campaign to be so critical of the media and in particular the New York Times. The New York Times enjoys a great reputation internationally of being a very reliable source of news. It is indeed one of the finest and reputable newspapers of the world. The editorial position of the New York Times is very often regarded as liberal in its interpretation of social issues and current events. Lately John McCain’s campaign is having a terrible week and tries to put all the blame and intimidate the press and tells people not to pay attention to newspapers such as New York Times. John McCain senior strategist Steve Schmidt has rebuked journalists and accused news organizations in particular New York Times of hounding McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin. “Whatever the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization,” said Schmidt on a conference call with reporters. “It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day attacks the McCain campaign, attacks Senator McCain, attacks Governor Palin, and excuses Senator Obama. “This is an organization that is completely, totally, 150% in the tank for the Democratic candidate, which is their prerogative to be, but let’s not be dishonest and call it something other than what it is. It is an organization that has made a decision to cast aside its journalistic integrity and tradition to advocate for the defeat of one candidate—in this case, John McCain.” Schmidt’s outburst came in specific response to a question about a story published lately which said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis had lobbied for $30,000 a month for five years to defend mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The McCain campaign also defended Palin over her lack of contact with journalists. In my opinion the New York Times reporting has always been realistic and above any bias.

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By felicity, September 23, 2008 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Schmidt is a redundancy.

But McCain is a different story.  More and more he reminds me of what a newly-landed fish looks like in the bottom of boat - flailing, heaving, flopping, banging himself senseless, gasping for oxygen…Not a pretty sight.

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By WR Curley, September 23, 2008 at 9:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The McCain campaign appeals to the angry working class white vote - people self-identified as victims of the liberal establishment (re: Limbaugh) - by asserting its victimhood on all fronts. Thus, the senator, victim of the hideous yellow peril. Thus, Ms Palin, victim of sexist punditry. None of this plays with the intelligentsia and their camp followers (that’s you and me, folks), but it goes down like beer and bar nuts with the F350 crowd, choking slowly on debt and diminishing expectations.

These people could take this election, given the current wave of terror emanating from the BushCo White House. People are frightened and confused; and, in the words of a stupifyingly smug talking head broadcasting late last night on CBS, “...when the American people are frightened, they turn to the grown-ups…”, asserting that the super-annuated Mr McCain has the avuncular stage presence to pose as the rock-steady redeemer (asserting, likewise, that we are all simpering snot-nosed urchins).

Some friendly advice…stop talking to each other. It’s a little creepy, like Limbaugh’s “double dittoes” crowd.

We urgently need some focus, here and now. There is an eleventh hour movement afoot to saddle future generations of taxpayers - your children and their children - with a package of junk debt guaranteed to absorb 7% of GDP (that’s all the money generated by the economy) for their entire lifetimes.

This is a shotgun sale. You will be forced to purchase worthless market merchandise at the sole discretion of the politically appointed Secretary of the Treasury. Folks, the package being forced upon you by BushCo and the Fed in this trumped-up crisis is - precisely - a federal mandate to garnishee, on top of your current tax burden, an additional 7% of your personal income for the foreseeable future. This, with no tangible benefit accruing…no new roads or bridges or parks; no new health care or schools or social safety net for the elderly and the infirm. In fact, this new debt burden will effectively trash the capacity of government at all levels to generate and to maintain the community services on which we all rely.

Starting to feel victimized? Give the redoubtable Mr Schmidt a call. I’m certain he’ll be there to commiserate.

WR Curley
Elizabeth, Colorado

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By Virginia777, September 23, 2008 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Steve Schmidt is a prime example of Bully Media, which is nothing less than propaganda. As Jacques Ellul said:

“Propaganda by its very nature is an enterprise for perverting the significance of events and of insinuating false intentions…The propagandist must insist on the purity of his own intentions and at the same time, hurl accusations at his enemy.”

(that said, if only he was right, and the New York Times was still the paper it used to be. Surely Schmidt knows of its “usefulness” in gaining acceptance for the Iraq war. He, without ethics, is just finding it a convenient target for now.)

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By Phenix, September 23, 2008 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why are we defending the NY Times?  Is this not the home of Judith Miller and other propaganda pushers.  I see no reason why it should be defended by the left or the right.

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By wildflower, September 23, 2008 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

There’s something humorous about sleazebags like Schmidt whining about somebody else’s standards – in this case, like he would have a clue as to what journalistic standards really means.

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By H.C. Mooningham, September 23, 2008 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why is Schmidt complaining? Is it because seeing the truth about Republicans in print from a major media source is so uncommon?
  As to The Times being an Obama advocacy group, Fox
and nearly all talk radio are “all Bush all Republican
all the time.” I suppose the Republicans being the self-designated party of God and all righteousness feel
entitled to never being questioned.
  It’s time that Republican free ride stopped.

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By jcbrap, September 23, 2008 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Phil Gramm was right, only he meant to say “we’ve become a party of whiners” [refering to his own party]...that’s all these right wing Nazi’s have to go on amymore…“Oh poor us, poor, poor us, people are asking us hard questions that we can’t answer.  That’s NOT fair!”

Go cry in your milk.  We’ve got a country to take back!

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By Leefeller, September 23, 2008 at 7:28 am Link to this comment


Dr. Evil, good one and all this time I thought Dr. Evil was McCain.  Still prefer Herman Munster for McCain.

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By roadkill, September 23, 2008 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

He’s Dr. Evil but not as funny.

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By Jim Yell, September 23, 2008 at 6:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is obvious that McCain has no program for running the Presidency and it is obvious that his offering himself as candidate is not about the country, but is about his own EGO. Like Lieberman he can’t imagine that the voter has the right not to vote for him, in McCain’s case because after all he was a POW. Well my father was a POW and he was abused by the NAZI’s, but he would have made a bad President and so would John McCain.

McCain’s only road to the White House appears (in his own Opinion)to only be viable if he surrenders himself to the same cable that put an ignorant and stupid and immoral man into the White House the past 8 years. The achievements of this soon to be past Administration has been an inflated National Debt, a supposed War without a War Tax, a collapsing banking system that was brought on by a stupid lack of enforcement of regulations and Usury, bought and paid for by these greedy bastards who now want billions of tax dollars to bail them out. And, not to forget a completely lawless President who makes the most preposterous claims to power and Congress sits there and allows him to get away with it.

The humiliating part of this there is still 1/3 of the population that is willing to cut their noses off to spit their faces to keep these crooks and gangsters in power.

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By Howard, September 23, 2008 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

By any measure of judging, New York Times has been one of the best newpapers in the world. Educational in the widest interpretation of the word.  I thank the stars that every day I can grab that newspaper and find out what is going on in the country and the world. Awesome organization !

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By Big B, September 23, 2008 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

Perhaps this Schmidt moron forgets that the NY Times was single handedly responsible for placing Bush back in the white house in 2004 by not printing stories of the bushies pre-war corruption when they had the chance.
Ah, the ghost of Lee Atwater haunts us still!

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By Aegrus, September 23, 2008 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

Steve Schmidt looks like a Neo-Nazi. He acts like one too.

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By ozzie12590, September 23, 2008 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

Interestingly enough, before Senators Obama and McCain became their parties’ nominees, The New York Times endorsed Senators Clinton and McCain. So The Times did like John McCain as recently as this past Spring.

I think both candidates have changed their strategy (both negatively) as the election nears, which is a shame. I believe both candidates tried to be different, early on, distinguishing themselves from the others. I’m sure the pressures from their respective political parties influenced their politics.

I hope that the debates will bring up discussions about the future of this country and the severe challenges we face. The meltdown on Wall Street, the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and health care, are just some of the burdensome topics I’m interested in. I hope our politicians see this, and not comparing whether Obama’s or Palin’s star power outshines those of Britney or Paris.

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By 123456, September 23, 2008 at 2:32 am Link to this comment

I gotta hold my nose and agree with him on this one point: the New York Times isn’t a journalistic organization. It’s a brainwashing tool, like most of the major news organizations in this country.

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