McCain honcho Steve Schmidt: The New York Times is a "pro-Obama advocacy organization"; Update: Audio added

The occasion, ostensibly, is this story in the morning edition accusing campaign manager Rick Davis of being a paid shill for Fannie/Freddie, but the same is true for Times-bashing as it is for any of life’s finest pleasures:

You never really need a reason to do it.

Let me first say we are First Amendment absolutists on this campaign. The press and anybody who wishes to cover this race from a blogosphere perspective or from a media perspective is of course constitutionally protected with regard to writing whatever they want to write.

But let’s be clear and be honest with each other about something fundamental to this race, which is this: Whatever the New York Times once was, it is today not by an standard a journalistic organization. It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day attacks the McCain campaign, attacks Sen. McCain, attacks Gov. Palin, and excuses Sen. Obama. There is no level of public vetting with regard to Sen. Obama’s record, his background, his past statements. There is no level of outrage directed at his deceitful ads. This is an organization that is completely, totally, 150 percent 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. 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 advocate for the election of the other candidate, Barack Obama.

Not the first nuclear strike Schmidt’s launched on the media this month, but certainly the most gratifying. Needless to say, we’re a long way from Team Maverick touting the Times’s endorsement on its home page. To see if the message is penetrating with the public, click the image to watch. Exit question one: When does Schmidt get around to taking on Newsweek? Too small a target to warrant an atomic bomb like this one? Exit question two: By what Orwellian definition of the term is the guy who co-wrote the McCain-Feingold bill a “First Amendment absolutist”?

Update: A microphone captures the sound of the nuclear detonation: