Yesterday, the Drudge Report revealed that the New York Times had rejected a draft op-ed by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), which rebutted an earlier one by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). As the Times explained, it was happy to publish a piece from McCain, but the one submitted was editorially subpar — it didn’t have any new information.
The right wing rushed to defend McCain yesterday, calling the Times’s decision “offensive” and “stupid” and claiming that it was part of a conspiracy to to help Obama win the election:
Weekly Standard’s Dean Barnett: “Nobody has ever heard of anything like this ever happening before.” [Hugh Hewitt Show, 7/21/08]
Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton: “For them to say that to – - the Republican presidential nominee is offensive.” [Hannity and Colmes, 7/21/08]
Conservative Pundit Dick Morris: “You don’t tell a president to the United States candidate what to write.” [Hannity and Colmes, 7/21/08]
Former White House Adviser Karl Rove: “I thought the decision by The New York Times was arrogant, condescending and stupid.” [On the Record with Greta, 7/21/08]
Bolton also said that he “may never publish another op-ed in ‘The New York Times’ after this.” Watch a compilation of Bolton, Morris, and Rove here:
But yesterday on CNN, Center for American Progress Action Fund Senior Vice President and former Clinton Deputy Press Secretary Jennifer Palmieri emphasized that even as a sitting president, Bill Clinton had “many” op-eds rejected by the Times:
When I worked for President Clinton, “The New York Times” rejected many op-eds written by him as a sitting president of the United States. They don’t just give up space to a candidate because their opponent has space. You can’t just go — you can’t go to “The New York Times” editorial page and say I want to say what’s wrong with the other guy. They want to leverage their space, which is very valuable, to force you to say something you haven’t said before. And I think that they turned down McCain not because they like Obama but because McCain, all he was doing in his piece was criticizing Obama and they wanted him to put him on the spot to say more.
Read the Times’s full explanation of its rejection here.
COLMES: All right. In terms of “The New York Times,” the “New York Times” said, look, we work with our authors, our op-ed authors. We want t o get a revised draft.
BOLTON: Let me say, Alan.
COLMES: We’re not going to publish it. It was — we would be happy to publish it. You got to work with us to revise it the way we want it like any editor of any newspaper.
BOLTON: Alan, I’ve published op-eds in “The New York Times.” I may never publish another op-ed in “The New York Times” after this. But I’m telling you, if they had come back to me with that kind of comment, I’d would have said stick it in your ear. I’m going to go publish it somewhere else.
COLMES: Maybe you could have found a softer way to phrase that.
BOLTON: For them I probably wouldn’t have. For them to say that to – - the Republican presidential nominee is offensive. [...]
COLMES: They asked him to revise it. They wouldn’t revise it. That’s the way it works on an op-ed piece.
MORRIS: You don’t tell a candidate for president of the United States what to write.
COLMES: They’re looking for a specific kind of statements.
MORRIS: You don’t tell a president to the United States candidate what to write.
COLMES: I point out editors do.
MORRIS: No, it’s not.
COLMES: Yes, it is.
MORRIS: When a president writes — I doubt they changed a comment in Obama’s piece.
COLMES: McCain’s president now? [...]
ROVE: I thought this — I thought the decision by The New York Times was arrogant, condescending and stupid. It was arrogant because it said, We’re going to dictate to you what you put in your op-ed. It was condescending in its tone that said, You have to mirror what Senator Obama said. And it was stupid because it gives people more reason to believe that they simply can’t trust The New York Times to be fair and even-handed.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, in such an important time in a democracy as a presidential election, we have two candidates running, you would think that they’d want to mirror exact opportunity –
VAN SUSTEREN: — and not try to tell someone what to write, you know, just to be careful of sort of the conduits of information and let the voters decide.
Last night, CNN’s Lou Dobbs chimed in: “I mean that is about as arrogant as it gets.” Right-wing radio host Lars Larson also said on CNN, “Campbell, what else would you expect from a daily dead fish wrapper like ‘The New York Times’? Their bias has shown for a long time.”