The Whiff: The Gray Lady still targeting McCain, and badly

posted at 11:13 am on May 4, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

At least the New York Times has moved its jeremiad on John McCain to where it belongs — in the editorial pages. After whiffing badly on several McCain hit pieces, the editorial board gets into the game today with a disingenuous attack on McCain’s supposed reluctance to disclose health and financial information. The Times sets a strange bar for disclosure:

Senator John McCain is 71 years old, a survivor of an aggressive form of skin cancer. If elected, he would be the oldest man to become president.

These factors are not disqualifying, but they impose on Mr. McCain a larger duty than usual to provide detailed, timely disclosure about his health. So far, he has failed to meet this obligation to voters, even though he is now the presumed Republican nominee.

And it is not just on health issues that there is a lack of transparency in this campaign. Neither Mr. McCain nor Senator Hillary Clinton has been forthcoming enough about financial records.

No presidential candidate should get to the point that he has locked up his party’s nomination without public vetting of his health. And Mr. McCain, in particular, knows that. Early in his first run for president, in 1999, he provided an in-depth look at his medical history: 1,500 pages of medical and psychiatric records collected by a Navy project on the health of former prisoners of war. He has released precious little medical information since his surgery for melanoma in August 2000.

I’d note that the supposed lack of disclosure on his melanoma didn’t stop the Times from writing a long, speculative piece of drizzly effluvium on McCain’s health almost two months ago. Not only did the Times’ own experts conclude that there was little concern over McCain’s prognosis, but they also pointed out that despite quarterly reviews of his skin, McCain has had no further surgery — which gives a pretty good indication that the melanoma has not recurred. It came in a series of Times “news” reports about issues that turned out to be either non-issues or completely false, such as the non-relationship with Vicki Iseman, the supposed flash of temper that a YouTube showed was a figment of Elizabeth Bumiller’s imagination, and so on.

Sources close to the situation say that they explained to the Times that McCain’s campaign would release the medical records later this month, that they needed to coordinate with some very busy physicians which takes time, and that the explanation came in time for the Times to include that in the editorial. Do you see any indication of that in the piece? Its absence means one of the two are lying.  (See Update below.)

The editorial demands that McCain release his wife’s financial records. Mrs. McCain’s finances have already been disclosed as required through Senate disclosure documents, as well as presidential campaign filings. Those records detail the sources of all income Mrs. McCain receives, as well as the range of her income, although not the exact amount. Since Mrs. McCain’s income is separated from Senator McCain through a pre-nuptial agreement, it hardly matters anyway, but the information is already public, despite what the editorial implies. Apparently the Times has been too lazy to actually do research.

As far as disclosure coming before clinching the nomination, isn’t that a decision voters make? Republicans in the primaries didn’t see it as a big enough issue to keep Senator McCain from clinching the GOP nomination. In fact, neither did the New York Times editors, which endorsed McCain in February. If they believe he needed to disclose his medical records and Mrs. McCain’s financial records before winning, why did the NYT editorial board give him the endorsement before the disclosure?

The Times has engaged in an obvious attempt to smear John McCain ever since he won the nomination. Small wonder the Gray Lady’s advertisers have bailed on the paper, and its readers have canceled subscriptions at a record rate. The paper has become indistinguishable from the DNC and MoveOn’s public-relations organs. Hackery at the former Paper of Record starts at the top and trickles downward.

Update: Tom Shipley points out that the editorial does mention the May 23 release date for the medical records, so I stand corrected on that point.  Now explain why, knowing this, the editorial exists at all.  What crucial milestone appears in the next three weeks that would make this editorial necessary?  It makes the argument even more vapid than ever.


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Gray Lady still targeting McCain, and badly

When you hang with them, they hang you. Live & learn.

Anita on May 4, 2008 at 11:17 AM

No doubt we’ll still get comments from McCain-haters about the media’s love affair with “liberal” McCain.

jgapinoy on May 4, 2008 at 11:19 AM

We are Still waiting for Bill Clinton’s health records, aren’t we?

RobCon on May 4, 2008 at 11:21 AM

No doubt we’ll still get comments from McCain-haters about the media’s love affair with “liberal” McCain.

It ‘s the other way. McCain’s love affair with the media.

Anita on May 4, 2008 at 11:22 AM

What is this now — Strike Eight?

Can’t help but to wonder how many “like” articles has the former paper of record written on Obama…

And the answer is: The Times has engaged in an obvious attempt to smear John McCain ever since he won the nomination. Small wonder the Gray Lady’s advertisers have bailed on the paper, and its readers have canceled subscriptions at a record rate. The paper has become indistinguishable from the DNC and MoveOn’s public-relations organs. Hackery at the former Paper of Record starts at the top and trickles downward.

Keemo on May 4, 2008 at 11:24 AM

When the real mud start to be slung after the Summer, who’s gonna come out on top?

McCain. The Dem’s got nothing, but crud like this. And be it Hillary or Obama, the undecideds et al will be turned-off by this kind of dredging.

If this keeps up, McCain’s a shoe-in for the White House.

JetBoy on May 4, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Bill Clinton never fully disclosed his medical records did he? Not even after eight years of office.

Where’s the NYT’s complaints about that?

DubiousD on May 4, 2008 at 11:26 AM

And the answer is: The Times has engaged in an obvious attempt to smear John McCain ever since he won the nomination.

And this is the same paper that endorsed John McCain on the GOP side.

JetBoy on May 4, 2008 at 11:26 AM

Say, did John Kerry ever release those military 180s like he promised? I don’t think so.

a capella on May 4, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Since he is black, McCain’s much younger opponent Obama is faced with a shorter average life span than a white candidate.
Also, since he is married to a screeching b****h, that should also shortern his life span, according to the National Board of Actuarial Science.
So, by our estimations, he should not become the President of the United States, but that honor should go to a white 7-month old female baby from North Dakota, since she would live long enough to ccmplete 23 consecutive terms of office.

TexasJew on May 4, 2008 at 11:30 AM

Gray Lady Tumbling

Egfrow on May 4, 2008 at 11:32 AM

A McCain supporter although he said, Friday on IITM he was supporting Satan on the Democrat ticket :)

http://www.myspace.com/getoffmyphone

Dr Evil on May 4, 2008 at 11:33 AM

The Times is running a “Throw it against the wall and see what sticks” strategy against McCain right now. The attempt to gin up concern over his medical records is an attempt by the not-as-smart-as-they-think-they-are editorial board to take the high road, as in they’re just thinking about the well-being of the country should the U.S. elect a president who’s too sick to carry out their duties once in office. But as the campaign goes on and these “high minded” attacks fail, look for the editorial folks to get down-and-dirty in a way the newsroom already has done, in demanding probes or condemnations over McCain’s purported affairs or his past Keating Five connection.

jon1979 on May 4, 2008 at 11:34 AM

This is on a par with Frank Rich’s childish attack on McCain for accepting the endorsement of a nut-case pastor. Suddenly, this was “McCain’s paster,” and therefore another Jeremiah Wright scandal.

Logic left the NY Times building many years ago. It’s a sad commentary on the blindness of the lefties that the paper can continue to spew its lunatic “news” and have any readers at all.

Rich, Krugman and Dowd. They’re like Larry, Moe and Curly without the humor.

MrScribbler on May 4, 2008 at 11:34 AM

Public disclosure violates the PHI (Protected Health Information) provisions of the HIPPA (Health Information Protection and Portability Act) signed into law by President Clinton.
But hey they got an agenda and why let something like that get in the way. I guess it is a good thing they didn’t ask for psychological screening of the candidates.

Just A Grunt on May 4, 2008 at 11:36 AM

In the end the Soros doppleganger have very little to work with that will resonate with Independent voters. Rev. Wright and Ayers trumps all. Say what you want about Sean Hannity. I thought Ayers was thin when he first began to raise it. Looking at the totatality of Obama’s Chicago experience, he probably can’t win the Presidency because he mad too many bad choices.

AYNBLAND on May 4, 2008 at 11:37 AM

If John McCain was soon on his deathbed, I’d assume the NYT editorial staff would see that as a good thing. What are they complaining about?

RBMN on May 4, 2008 at 11:38 AM

TexasJew on May 4, 2008 at 11:30 AM

Makes sense. It would also seem obvious that a craving for fast food, cardiac vessel occlusion, and high risk for STD might have eliminated our first black president from consideration in ’92.

a capella on May 4, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Yeah and has Hillary disclosed her recent mammogram and pap test results ? We need monthly updates on those to be sure she is not hiding something. Can’t have someone laid up with a mastectomy or hysterectomy leading this country can we ? And doesn’t Barry have a much higher chance of anemia than the white folks in this race. Like to see that stats on that and the most recent blood test he has had for that.

JonRoss on May 4, 2008 at 11:40 AM

The Times has engaged in an obvious attempt to smear John McCain ever since he won the nomination.

Mission Accomplished for the NYT. Make sure Romney dosen’t get the nomination and then fire for effect!

dmann on May 4, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Correct me if I am wrong but Billy Jeff has NEVER released his medical records !!!

JonRoss on May 4, 2008 at 11:43 AM

Tom MacGuire reminds us that John Kerry was treated for prostate cancer in early 2003 but didn’t disclose his medical records to the NYT until October 2004, one month before the election… and the NYT still stood by him.

Kerry’s Disclosure

DubiousD on May 4, 2008 at 11:45 AM

Screw that left wing propaganda machine . . . their only audience is their liberal choir.

rplat on May 4, 2008 at 11:52 AM

Sources close to the situation say that they explained to the Times that McCain’s campaign would release the medical records later this month, that they needed to coordinate with some very busy physicians which takes time, and that the explanation came in time for the Times to include that in the editorial. Do you see any indication of that in the piece? Its absence means one of the two are lying.

Well, yes, there is indication that the McCain would release his medical records later in the month…

The McCain campaign says it will make his health documents available and arrange for follow-up questioning of the candidate’s doctors on May 23. Why has it taken so long?

Coordinating with busy physicians is the reason? I don’t know, maybe… but considering he released his medical records much earlier in his 2000 campaign (actually released in 1999), it seems a legitimate question and the McCain explanation seems disingenuous.

As far as his age and his past cancer goes… yes, it’s a legitimate issue.

Tom_Shipley on May 4, 2008 at 12:05 PM

All of the ‘Maverick’ cheerleaders should brace themselves. The left wing in the media, and on the web are just warming up. After ‘Her Thighness’ finishes cutting the knees from under the former black panther recruiter and gets the nomination, full attention will be directed on peeling the hide from McCain. I can’t wait to write in the name of a real conservative in November.

nivram1 on May 4, 2008 at 12:06 PM

Didn’t these idiots endorse him for the Republican nomination? I guess he was a bit younger then…

morganfrost on May 4, 2008 at 12:09 PM

Well Tom, it wasn’t such a legitimate concern to them back in February, was it?

surrounded on May 4, 2008 at 12:10 PM

nivram1 on May 4, 2008 at 12:06 PM

You’re all welcome to write in the name of Mickey Mouse in November, for all I care, but is it really necessary to shout it to the world every time you hear McCain’s name? Yeah we get it – you’re pissed. Those are called sour grapes and I’m gonna give the same advice that Michelle Malkin always gives (except when she’s the one who’s affected) – Suck. It. Up.

God.

amkun on May 4, 2008 at 12:12 PM

The whole thing has just been the NYT’s pathetic attempt at their own “operation chaos” scenario.

The hitch is, nobody cares what they think anymore.

surrounded on May 4, 2008 at 12:12 PM

Put the NY Times editorial staff in prison for five years, and torture them, and then let’s see what they have to say about health issues.

Just wishful thinking…

profitsbeard on May 4, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Surrounded,

I don’t understand this line of thinking. Do you think because the NYTimes endorses a candidate, they should stop reporting on a or challenging a candidate?

After an endorsement, should every story be positive?

Tom_Shipley on May 4, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Just A Grunt on May 4, 2008 at 11:36 AM

It’s not a violation if you choose to release the information. The law only protects you from third parties giving out information w/o your knowledge. That’s why you have to sign a release form when your folder, or x-rays go to another physician.

bikermailman on May 4, 2008 at 12:14 PM

Oh c’mon man. Wouldn’t you think they would wanna take this important stuff under advisement BEFORE they make an endorsement?

I’m just sorta flabberghasted that it has to be explained to you. No disrespected intended, it’s a pretty obvious…geez, i’m not sure how to proceed here. LOL

surrounded on May 4, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Tom,

They’re saying that he shouldn’t have been nominated without disclosing this material. Why would they then urge people to vote for his nomination before it was released? It’s pretty hypocritical, to say the least.

Ed Morrissey on May 4, 2008 at 12:20 PM

Yeah, thanks CE..sorry Tom, I don’t get my point across to well sometimes.

surrounded on May 4, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Ed, it’s because they were trying to pick our candidate for us, so their opponent would be a weaker candidate to beat. They had every intention of turning on him after it was settled, and we were all screaming that at the top of our lungs. But then, you knew that and were being rhetoricsl… Kinda makes you not feel so bad about Operation Chaos, huh?

bikermailman on May 4, 2008 at 12:25 PM

I’m sure they did take it under advisement. But as the op-ed states, this issue does not disqualify him as a candidate.

You seem to think that because a paper endorses a candidate either

A) They don’t think there are any issues that would raise concern about he or she becoming president.

or

B) If there are, they should not raise them.

Quite bluntly, that’s not how it works. A paper can endorse a candidate and still raise concerns about their candidacy. Heck, the Times even basically rescinded it’s endorsement of Clinton last month.

Endorsing a candidate does not mean a paper becomes that candidates cheerleader. After an endorsement is made, the paper goes back to work in reporting on that candidate for the public. That often means looking at the candidate and their campaign with a critical eye.

Tom_Shipley on May 4, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Ed,

They don’t say that he shouldn’t have been nominated. They say…

No presidential candidate should get to the point that he has locked up his party’s nomination without public vetting of his health.

They are saying McCain has a responsibility, especially since he has locked up the nomination, to release his medical records. They are using locking up the nomination as a yardstick as to when medical records should at the very latest release their medical records.

They don’t say he should not have received the nomination because he didn’t release his records. And it should be noted that the Times endorsed him before he locked up the nomination.

Tom_Shipley on May 4, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Ed, it’s because they were trying to pick our candidate for us, so their opponent would be a weaker candidate to beat.

bikermailman on May 4, 2008 at 12:25 PM

That’s assuming the NYT’s opinion means anything to most Republicans. They were probably being even more cynical than you posit and endorsed him precisely because they knew it would hurt more than help, thus attempting to derail the nomination of the strongest candidate the Republicans had at the time.

amkun on May 4, 2008 at 12:37 PM

Say, did John Kerry ever release those military 180s like he promised? I don’t think so.

a capella on May 4, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Kerry has only released his complete naval records to three people-all reporters for liberal newspapers.

What’s he hiding?

Del Dolemonte on May 4, 2008 at 1:07 PM

If McCain had any worrisome medical issues that might affect his capacity as President, he would not be running.

mikeyboss on May 4, 2008 at 1:59 PM

Aren’t the NYT, and the lefties, but I repeat myself, for identity politics? How about respect and equality for the elderly?

Bill Clinton changed the law whereby people had to retire at 65. Now, there’s no cap at all. Work until you’re 150, if you’re able. How would Hillary argue against her own husband?

Entelechy on May 4, 2008 at 2:36 PM

Also, not to forget Murtha, Reid, Byrd, and other old farts in the House and Senate, from both sides of the isle.

Entelechy on May 4, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Tom_Shipley on May 4, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Tom, yes I can see what you are saying with respect to issues that

ay arise after the endorsement. This was something they could have hinged their endorsement on, if its so important…it’s been no secret that McCain has had past health issues, just like any other guy who gets to be his age…if an official disclosure of some sort was a concern, they should have held out for it. They just wanted to nudge him forward, they thought the timing was right. Thats my perception.

And they don’t realize they don’t have the relevance or the influence they used to.

surrounded on May 4, 2008 at 3:19 PM

It seems weird to me that the NYT likes that it is illegal to not a qualified individual to pick up garbage because he has eczema, but suddenly we have to use such information to pick the president. When does discrimination become a bad thing?

thuja on May 4, 2008 at 3:22 PM

Why does anyone pay attention to the NYT? It looks like they will be in chapter 11 very soon. It can’t be soon enough.

duff65 on May 4, 2008 at 4:51 PM

In fact, neither did the New York Times editors, which endorsed McCain in February.

Nice.

Why does anyone pay attention to the NYT? It looks like they will be in chapter 11 very soon. It can’t be soon enough.

duff65 on May 4, 2008 at 4:51 PM

Ditto. They’ve already done enough damage.

bigbeas on May 4, 2008 at 6:03 PM

When you hang with them, they hang you. Live & learn.

Although I expect to end up voting for him despite my wretching innards . . .

. . . I have a lot of trouble finding any sympathy for “Maverick” whenever the MSM conveniently turns on him. Its not more than he’s due.

seanrobins on May 5, 2008 at 12:41 AM

I don’t give a d@mn what those tofu-slurping commie treasonists at that rag think about McCain’s health or his personal finances.

They have zero credibility on this until they start asking some serious questions about Obama and Rezko, and Clinton and her cash from China, as well as the cash Bubba has been raking in from foreign sources.

A starting question for her is how will Bubba’s speech payments affect any decision of hers?

Absolute buffoons!

91Veteran on May 5, 2008 at 1:43 AM

Bill Clinton never fully disclosed his medical records did he? Not even after eight years of office.

Where’s the NYT’s complaints about that?

DubiousD on May 4, 2008 at 11:26 AM

On the same page where they are complaining about John eFing Kerry not releasing his military records.

91Veteran on May 5, 2008 at 1:50 AM

Kerry has only released his complete naval records to three people-all reporters for liberal newspapers.

What’s he hiding?

Del Dolemonte on May 4, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Either that his Purple Hearts were for scratches, or his discharge had to be upgraded from something other than honorable due to some “activities” while he was still in uniform.

I’m still wondering what three great military liberals were allowed to review his records.

91Veteran on May 5, 2008 at 2:04 AM

I’m still waiting for the time to demand that Kerry release his wife’s financial records.

MarkTheGreat on May 5, 2008 at 7:01 AM

It is nice to see the Slimes really tackling the real “issues” in this election.

John McCains’s face. Maybe they can move onto Obama’s large hobbit like ears — surely they can’t even be human.

One thing is for sure… there’s no thinner skin than that of a liberal, or a liberal journalist and the organ for whom he writes.

I’m waiting to see Hillary’s health records on all her BOTOX injections.

That can’t be good for one’s skin, can it?

Jack Bauer on May 5, 2008 at 7:40 AM