February 22nd, 2008
11:15 AM ET
10 years ago

White House: The New York Times targets the GOP

White House Scott Stanzel in a file photo.

White House Scott Stanzel in a file photo.

(CNN) - The White House took aim at the New York Times Friday over its investigation of presidential candidate John McCain, with a spokesman telling reporters the paper unfairly targets Republicans.

“I think a lot of people here in this building with experience in a couple of campaigns have grown accustomed to the fact that during the course of the campaign - about seemingly on maybe a monthly basis leading up to the convention, maybe a weekly basis after that - the New York Times does try to drop a bombshell on the Republican nominee,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Scott Stanzel.

“And that is something that the Republican nominee has faced in the past, and probably will face in this campaign. And sometimes they make incredible leaps to try to drop those bombshells on the Republican nominee,” he said.

Stanzel said that the White House would not comment on the specifics of the story, but considered what they felt to be the paper’s uneven approach to covering GOP candidates to be a “fact of life.” He added that in his personal experience as a staffer involved with President Bush’s 2000 and 2004 presidential runs, that sentiment was widespread on both campaigns.

“I'm not saying they never give that kind of treatment [to a Democratic nominee]. But we see it pretty regular [in] treatment of the Republican nominee,” he said of the Times.

–CNN's Kathleen Koch contributed to this report

Filed under: John McCain • White House
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Ben from D.C.

    Yah, who said that they should express their opinions?

    February 22, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. Reality


    February 22, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. chris

    Fox news attacks Democrats...

    February 22, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. TheLeftNut

    More cry baby stuff.

    See what it's like on the receiving end.

    BESIDES, what Bush did to McCain in the 2000 election makes what the NYT did like slap on the wrist

    Hypocrititis is the medical term.

    February 22, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. John, Kansas City, MO

    "The White House took aim at the New York Times Friday over its investigation of presidential candidate John McCain, with a spokesman telling reporters the paper unfairly targets Republicans."

    And nearly every other news outlet in the country unfairly targets Democrats, so stop whining and go watch Fox News...

    February 22, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. D

    NYT gave the GOP a common denonimator.

    February 22, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. OBAMA 08

    News papers are not known to make those kind of mistakes, as they did not with Nixon, and Clinton.

    February 22, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Jeff, Huntington Beach, CA

    This Administration has always attacked others for bringing attention to it's self serving agenda while it sets up and maintains smokescreens for it's misdeeds. Who cares what Bush has to say? He should be in prison.

    February 22, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. A proud Texan

    Duh.... anyone with half a brain (guess that excludes Democrats) knows that the Times habitually goes after conservatives, usually without any proof. They could care less about reporting the truth– it's all about pushing their liberal agenda on the rest of us, and the sad part is, many Americans can't/won't see what's really happening.

    February 22, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Marc

    Jason Blair must be beaming......

    February 22, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. demwit

    The national media in bed with an agenda?? Nooooo..... Say it ain't so...

    February 22, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    “I'm not saying they never give that kind of treatment [to a Democratic nominee]. But we see it pretty regular [in] treatment of the Republican nominee,” Stanzel said of the Times.

    Wonder why? It's because your GOP buddies are abusing their office powers and engaging in corruptive behavior. No wonder so many people have been disenfranchised by the Republicans. I can't wait till they're all out of office.

    February 22, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Kathryn Irby

    Larry Flynt has "struck again"!

    Kathryn Irby
    Metairie, LA

    February 22, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. H in GA

    I don't know but did anyone else see McCain speaking to the media? I got a degree in criminology, just to clarify so I'm not some sort of mad McCain attacker or anything. One thing we were taught is to read people, their body language and eye movements can tell you things as to whether they are lying or just generally uncomfortable. I'm looking at him giving his response and he blinked like 1,000 times while denying that there was any wrong-doing. He just blinked and blinked and blinked. I'm sitting here trying to read him and his wife was just looking at him and would blink normally. If the camera panned to the crowd no one else was blinking every other second. I've seen McCain talk at other times and I've never noticed him to blink that much.

    February 22, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Gus T.

    Typical Republican response: don't address the story, make the story about the source and their motivation. They have been incredibly successful with it as this article demonstrates. We should expect more, such as the discussion of whether the story has merit or not, rather than the discussion of which media source has it in for which party (of course it's always the poor Republics that get picked on).

    February 22, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. mary

    Maybe the NYTimes should check into Weather Underground...I would like to know if Obama is involved with them?

    February 22, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. floridian

    I would expect the print media to "target" the "other side" - read: whoever the editor(s) do not align with philosophically. But I would hope that what they print AS NEWS would be accurate. What's on the opinion or editorial pages I do not care about - it is expected to be slanted. But, there needs to be more accuracy in the reporting and it seems like that is no longer the case, and it is a shame. Another reflection on what is wrong with America. I just hope and pray that however this election turns out, that we can, as a nation, unite behind the winner and move forward - as opposed to spending 4 years bashing him/her.

    February 22, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Randy - Denver

    Poor Poor US.. everyone is sooo mean to the republicans.. thats why they call it swift boating.. oh wait that was the republicans, well maybe they meant when the papers were all attacking a sitting president for personal affairs, no wait that was a democratic president, they must have meant when the papers all gave the president a free ride while he lied his way into Iraq... no wait.. I guess I am confused.

    February 22, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    That's because the Republicans have been running the country bozo!

    The GOP had a headlock on the Congress from 1994 to 2006 and is still able to obstruct progress in the barely Democratically-controlled congress. They have also run the White House and Justice Department for the last seven years.

    The media looks for stories where the power lies and in the case of some Republicans, there is plenty to go after.

    But the GOP should take heart, four years from now the Times and others will be going after the Dems.

    February 22, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. john

    The Republicans really need tro stop whining everytime they are called to the carpet for their actions. John McCain has said he has never "done anything that would betray the public trust or make a decision" that would favor a particular group. Those are BIG words coming from one of the Keating Five ( google that s**t if you don't recognize it). McCain betrayed the public trust in his dealings with Charles Keating, it is not a far stretch to think he betrayed his wife's trust with a blonde lobbyist.

    Campaign spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said in a statement that the newspaper had engaged in a "smear campaign" and that nothing in the story suggests "that John McCain ever violated the principles that have guided his career."

    Again...EVER violated the priciples that guide his career? These statements alone are bold-faced lies. Google "The Keating Five" and see how really above board Saint John has been.

    February 22, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Sherman

    And what does the White House have to say about how Fox News treats democratic candidates?

    February 22, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. David, Dallas Tx

    I would imagine any news agency that reports the news is likely viewed by the Republicans as being hostile towards them, given how much they do to draw negative publicity towards themselves.

    February 22, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Wynter (NH)

    And of course Fox News doesn't get the same treatment from the White House for its inept performance attacking any Democrat it sees fit to slander. Probably because that is "News" right?

    February 22, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. raf

    To be fair, there have been an enormous number of legitimate bombshells to drop on the Bush campaigns and administrations. Maybe a more credible Republican should be speaking on McCain's behalf.

    February 22, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Bubba

    So, are we to suppose that he's more honest than previous Bush mouthpieces? I'd been thinking McCain was being swiftboated, but if Stanzel's attacking the messenger it's got to be true. Republicans are a horny lot, aren't they?

    February 22, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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