September 22nd, 2008
12:20 PM ET
15 years ago

Senior McCain aide skewers New York Times


Watch: A McCain audience member condemns the media coverage of Sarah Palin.

(CNN) - McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt accused the New York Times Monday of being “in the tank” for Barack Obama’s presidential bid, and charged the Democrat’s team with a “campaign of intimidation” directed at his critics.

“Whatever by the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization,” said Schmidt, on a conference call with reporters. “It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day attacks Senator McCain, attacks Governor Palin and excuses Senator Obama.

“There is no level of outrage directed at his deceptive ads. There is no vetting...This is an organization that is completely, totally 150 percent in the tank for the Democratic candidate,” said Schmidt, saying later: “We would hope in the last 43 days of this campaign… that there is a restoration to some degree of a level of symmetry in coverage.”

The former Bush adviser has been an increasingly vocal media critic. Earlier this month, he accused journalists of being on a “mission to destroy” Sarah Palin, and called a Times investigative report on the vetting process that preceded her selection as McCain’s running mate a “work of fiction.”

Schmidt also told reporters on the call, “There is no question that there is a fierce campaign of intimidation directed at any critic of Obama’s” by his campaign.

But McCain aides backed away from claims last week that Obama had pressured Senator Hillary Clinton into backing out of an appearance at a rally where Governor Sarah Palin would be in attendance, and of pushing organizers to disinvite the Republican VP nominee, with campaign manager Rick Davis saying instead that the incident demonstrated a “failure of leadership” by the Democratic nominee.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. Matt: honestly

    Maybe if the McCain campaign did not put out ads that have known bold face lies about Obama, and he provided solutions to problems instead of comparing Paris Hilton to Obama, then he would get more media credibility.

    September 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. Chut Pata

    I don't hear Obama saying anything about Fox network, which is 1,000% ultra right wing, neo-con, pro-corporate-socialism, anti-obama. Yet Obama had the guts to face the biggest BS-er of the Fox i.e. Bill O'Reilly.

    Show you are half a man that Obama is, and stop whining.

    September 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Americans for Obama

    The media didn't do its job with the run-up to the Iraq war and should be considered an accomplice to that costly debacle. They're trying to redeem themselves now by asking the tough questions that the people who still care about this country are demanding them to ask. That's not liberal bias, it's moral responsibility.

    No one is on a mission to "destroy" Sarah Palin, but if by telling the truth about her record, the myth created by McCain is destroyed, so be it. The press had better not cower one iota on this issue of telling the truth, just because it happens to be an inconvenient indictment of the GOP and the disastrous course they've put this country on for the past 8 years.

    September 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Sam

    Hey, McCain, you've got your own NETWORK – FOX News. So even IF this paper is biased against you (which it isn't, except to the extent that REALITY is biased against you and your lies), then what have you got to whine about? Shut down FOX News and then maybe your bellyaching about biases will have some creedence. Until then, the non-Republican world has to play catch-up just to balance out FOX's lies and propaganda.

    September 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. Kate

    What's the difference between George Bush and Sarah Palin?


    September 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Charlotte

    Why is this election so close? The worst economy,worst President, worst Congress and worst candidates in history. Obama is as big a liar as McCain. Obama is too green to be POTUS. Obama ignored half the base of the democratic party. The reverse racist want to think it is because he is black. I would vote for a blackman, just not this blackman. Colin Powell is a blackman I could feel comfortable with as POTUS. He is a proven leader. Obama is not. I know, from past history, anytime the government does anything for me it cost me more in the long run. If Obama cuts taxes in one place he will raise them in another. His so call tax breaks, will mean a national sales tax of some type, mark my words. We are in big trouble no matter who wins, I just want someone with some experience. Obama is too slow to react to emergencies. He seems to wait for the polls to tell him what to think.

    September 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. CM

    This is the same Schmidt that was Cheney's spokesman? That sure does lend some credibility to his argument.

    In case that was above some of you guys. That was sarcasm.

    September 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. Andrew

    Trying to make America into a "nation of whiners", McCain?

    September 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Dal CA

    Well McSame is using the tactic of discrediting the media so that he can win. May be he should ask the FIRST DUDE to help him muzzle the press and media like HE HAS done in good OLD ALASKA.

    September 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Republicans Hate America

    Everyone knows this $700 billion welfare check to CEO's the republicans want to steal from us is to get you through Nov 4th McCain it will do nothing for the problems you and your crooks help create in this country.

    September 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. tedious898

    Ok I'm sick! According to AP poll 1/3 of white dems will not vote for Barack because of race.

    This is America? What happened to people being judged by the content of their character as opposed to their color? Oh yeah those were just words from some "dreaming preacher from Atlanta" What was he thinking?

    Well, I ask real americans to please put aside race and vote for Obama. It is the best solution for what's wrong with America. Your kids and my kids will Thank You

    September 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Arin

    Whine, whine, whine, whine, whine.... the McCain camp, or should i say McLame camp is campaign full of whiners.

    September 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. These people!!!

    These people will stop at nothing to blame Obama for every down fall of the republican party. Maybe if they stop at the lies and try to be truthful with the American public maybe so many of there own wouldn't criticize them.

    September 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Susan


    any comment?!

    September 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. J. Huck

    NEWS FLASH: That is the job of the media, to expose the truth. If McCain didn't vet Sarah Palin thoroughly, the media will, especially if she is ignoring them.

    Sarah Palin, what are you hiding, why are you afraid to face the media, you know it cannot continue like this, CANNOT SNUB YOUR WAY OUT TO ELECTION!

    September 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Steve

    It is the media's job to be the watchdog of political gamesmanship.
    If a campaign lies and distorts the truth, then the media needs to call them on it, no matter what party is doing the distorting. The NYT has called Obama on distortions, as well as Hillary and other politicians.
    While the paper may be left-leaning, it is generally a source of truthful information about what campaigns are doing.

    The McCain campaign has based its entire platform on bashing Obama, stealing his ideas, and throwing tantrums. They are now getting called on it, by the NYT. Everyone has smelled a skunk from the direction of the Republican campaign for months. All the NYT is doing is pointing out the skunk. With any luck at all, the skunk will be roadkill in early November.

    September 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. greenfish

    Remember Lily Ledbetter! Vote Obama/Biden

    September 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Amerika the beautiful

    In all my decades of voting democratic, I have never before seen the likes of this.

    The media is campaigning FOR Obama. No one mentions that Obama has no experience, no track record of achievement and NO PLAN whatsoever.

    It is enough that Obama attack his opponents. That is viewed as a viable alternative plan of action.

    Sad day for Amerika.

    September 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. jj in NYC

    Give the NYT a break, covering the lies and the distortions put out by the McCain campaign of late is probably a full time job. Senator Obama is smarter, more empathetic and more in touch with the problems facing the American people (not to mention the economy). Hopefully, the American people will be smart enough to figure that out this time. Anyway, no need to worry, as McCain supporters are probably not reading the New York Times (or anything at all for that matter).

    September 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Republicans Hate America

    well its an outrage that Palin supports rape, incest and teen sex. dont blame the media for pointing out the truth.

    September 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Bet CCN Won't Post This

    It is funny how quick CNN runs this story but they won't run one on how the VP Debate is being "dumbed down" for Sarah Palin. Check out yesterday's NY Times for the details. Seems she is not a seasoned debator...

    September 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Mike in Ohio

    Standard Republican methodology: If you don't like the message, shoot the messenger.

    September 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Fed Up

    Good strategy. Make the media out to be the bad guy. It has nothing to do with the B.S. that McSame and his goons are trying to push. Tucker Bounds is a complete idiot, or about as equally incompetent as Caribou Barbie.

    Just say NO to Bush 44.

    GO Obama/Biden!!!

    September 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. Judy Who

    Is the editorial board of The Times Left-leaning? You can definitely argue that it is, but at the same time it should be acknowledged that The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, also highly respected publications, do tend to be more Right-leaning. None of this is news.

    It is funny though to see some McCain/GOP loyalists crying about The New York Times and it's editorial/columnist criticism when the highly conservative has also seen fit to criticize Senator McCain's 'unpresidential' comments regarding out current economic state.

    September 22, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. LaTreetha E. Sharpley

    Steve Schmidt, does not realize that when a newspaper tells the truth it is not being for the other person. This time the lies that the Karl Rove machine puts out will not be stood. As Americans we need to know the truth, and as a daily reader of the New York Times, I find it a very truthful paper. This newspaper nor anyother news organization should be afraid of the Rove. machine. I remember several media persons who have had their job threaten, for telling the truth. We as citzens are now demanding that we be told the truth.

    September 22, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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