Thursday, May 22, 2008

New York Times Resorting to Extortion?

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has released a story about how low the New York Times has evolved. The Times has told the McCain camp that if they are not included in the pool of reporters that will get a glimpse of McCains medical records, they will go negative on the story:

Gray Lady fighting dirty against McCain campaign? Update: NYT Ethics Policy

posted at 6:30 pm on May 21, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Does the New York Times leverage access to campaign events through threats of negative news articles? According to one source at the McCain campaign, the answer is yes...........

All of that brings us to today. It’s no secret that the McCain campaign believes the Times to be dishonest in its reporting on the candidate, and they decided not to extend an invitation to the Times for the media pool at the release of the medical records on Friday. According to my source close to the part of the campaign that deals with these issues, they have invited a variety of media outlets, including national-reach newspapers, wire services, and cable-news networks into the pool, but told the Times that they would not receive any credentials for the event.

This prompted a conversation between one Times editor and the campaign staff. Again according to the source, the editor told the campaign that the Times would take a negative view about the release of the records if an invitation was not forthcoming. It was clear that an invitation to the pool would change the nature of the coverage. READ THE COMPLETE STORY HERE.

The New York Times posted this story today at their political online site:

WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain is set to release 400 pages of medical records, including documents related to his melanoma surgery in August 2000, to a tightly controlled group of reporters on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

On Friday, the campaign will allow a small pool of reporters access to the records from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Pacific time in a conference room at the Copper Wind Resort in Phoenix, near the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale. The reporters will be allowed to take notes but not remove or photocopy the records. Campaign officials said they were imposing the restrictions to prevent the actual records from wide dissemination.

The news organizations in the pool, selected by the campaign, include ABC News, The Arizona Republic, The Associated Press, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News, Reuters, The Washington Post and, possibly, a newsmagazine. LINK

Rovinsworld posted in comments at the Hot Air post:

Perhaps if the New York Times had agreed to talk (view) the information “WITHOUT PRECONDITIONS” they may have been included in this release.

It will be interesting to see how they follow up on their threat to go negative. I’m guessing an AP or a Reuters writer will go ugly enough that the Times can just copy the text while hiding under the covers.

From MrLynn:

" The NY Times (”the paper of record”) still wields enormous influence on other newspapers around the country, and also on the newsrooms of hundreds of TV stations. Most people still get the bulk of their news (if they get any) from TV first, and local papers secondarily. So what the Times says becomes de facto gospel.

If we in the blogosphere, a relatively small coterie of news and political junkies, can keep shining a bright light on this roach-infested kitchen where the NY Times serves up its daily menu, maybe some customers will gradually start looking elsewhere for more fulfilling news and commentary." MrLynn on May 22, 2008 at 8:22 AM

Longtime commenter and colleague Keemo also states the obvious:

"Wonder what it must be like to be a stock holder of the NYT; watching as this dinosaur sinks in the quick sand of corruption and unethical behavior. Liberalism, a mental disorder…"
Keemo on May 22, 2008 at
9:05 AM

definably developing............

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