According to Politico, Obama spokesman Bill Burton called Schmidt's attack on the Times "laughable." Burton released a list of 42 "probing stories" from the Times. Among these allegedly hard-hitting exposés were the following headlines: "In Law School, Obama Found Political Voice," "Charisma and a Search for Self in Obama's Hawaii Childhood" and "In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd."
It's amazing the Obama campaign survived such an onslaught.
Meanwhile, the Times ran a scurrilous, unsubstantiated story suggesting McCain had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a lobbyist. Its coverage of Palin has been so heinous, Times readers could be forgiven for thinking the Alaska governor is a transvestite in a Klan robe who speaks in tongues.
The New York Times is clearly rooting for Barack Obama (just as it was rooting for McCain against Bush in 2000). As Kurtz has demonstrated, the Times has soft-pedaled Obama's ties to William Ayers, an unrepentant domestic terrorist whose former outfit, The Weathermen, bombed the Pentagon and other American targets.
Times editorials read like Obama press releases. On McCain's controversial ad criticizing Obama's vote for a sex-ed bill in the Illinois legislature, the Times proclaimed that McCain "flat-out lies" and argued that "at most, kindergarteners were to be taught the dangers of sexual predators." A plain reading of the actual bill shows that the Times is flat-out lying.
Attacking the press serves several purposes, not least of which is that it just feels good. It also galvanizes the base and informs swing voters to be more skeptical of what the press tells them. Of course, such griping can backfire, causing the press to become even more hostile, though it's hard to imagine what that would look like. But a good hard smack on the nose can offer some rewards.
For instance, during the Jeremiah Wright controversy, the Times refused to report that Obama's mentor and pastor had ever said "God damn America," even though that exclamation was central to the firestorm. But the day after the McCain campaign declared war on the Times, the quote appeared on the front page, six months late and in a story about McCain's negative campaigning. Such are the meager spoils of war.