On Wednesday, I reported that the John McCain campaign got threatened by the New York Times with negative coverage of the medical-records release unless the campaign issued the paper an invitation to the press pool. The Times’ Washington bureau never responded to a request for a response to my queries on that story, but dutifully, they published a story the next day accusing the campaign of holding a “tightly-controlled” release, despite the presence of several national media outlets.
Apparently, they still haven’t recovered from their snit. Today, Elizabeth Bumiller and Lawrence Altman essentially re-run their whining from Thursday in their review of McCain’s medical records:
Senator John McCain released his medical records on Friday under tightly controlled circumstances, allowing them to be reviewed by a small group of reporters from news organizations that his campaign chose. …
The media organizations in the pool included ABC News, The Arizona Republic, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, Reuters and The Washington Post. Before the viewing, the campaign provided a look to The Associated Press.
The campaign did not include The New York Times in the pool, declined a request by The Times to review Mr. McCain’s 2000 to 2008 medical records after the viewing and did not call on The Times in the conference call. Throughout the primary season, the campaign declined requests by The Times to interview Mr. McCain or his doctors about his medical history.
Gee, I wonder why that is? Perhaps it’s because the Times has delivered biased hit pieces disguised as news, and an outrageously unfair editorial accusing McCain of a cover-up while noting his scheduled release on the 23rd. Bumiller herself got caught in a lie by reporting that McCain’s temper had flared in a Q&A with reporters, which a video taken of the exchange showed Bumiller’s dishonesty.
Now the Gray Lady shrieks at getting frozen out of campaign events. If they hadn’t made themselves into such obvious partisans, they would have better access. When the Times ran the piece that accused McCain of having an affair with less evidence than it takes to get a story in the National Enquirer, they ceased being a newspaper and became a gossip rag. If they don’t like that reality, then the Times needs to fire the editors responsible and hire responsible editors in their place.
Update: Tightly controlled? In 1999, the Times praised McCain and called his disclosure process a model for presidential candidates — even though McCain used a smaller media pool in 1999 than yesterday:
Mr. McCain’s disclosure should not set off a browbeating of other candidates to match him detail for detail. But it does outline a common-sense approach. Presidential health, like presidential character, is an important public concern. Voters have a right to look at anything that relates to ability to serve, including major health issues in a candidate’s life. Journalists have a corresponding duty to be responsibly curious about these matters. Mr. McCain’s particular way of releasing information need not become an exact requirement for other candidates, but it ought to prompt them toward a corresponding openness appropriate to their own histories and candidacies.
The intellectual dishonesty continues ….