August 27, 2018

ROGER KIMBALL: The New York Times’ slathering praise for John McCain rings false.

It is instructive, then, to compare The New York Times’s coverage of McCain circa 2018 with what it had to say in 2008, when it actually mattered in more than a rhetorical sense. The Times was happy to support McCain during the primary season, doubtless understanding that he was the weaker candidate. But when it came down to it, the Times wrote that McCain was ‘aggressive,’ ‘erratic,’ possibly a bit touched in the head, to mention, old, old. In a piece titled ‘The Real John McCain,’ published in September 2008, as the campaign was approaching its white-hot finale, the Times wondered whether, as McCain took the stage, ‘there would be any sign of the senator we long respected.’

There were a few sops of the old McCain, the Times admitted. But no one will be surprised that the Times came down firmly on the other side. The evening, they said, was full of ‘chilling glimpses of the new John McCain, who questioned the patriotism of his opponents as the ‘me first, country second’ crowd.’

The Times continued in a musing mood: ‘In the end, we couldn’t explain the huge difference between the John McCain of Thursday night and the one who ran such an angry and derisive campaign and convention.’ Angry!

September of 2008 was a big month for the Gray Lady: As Byron York wrote on September 24th of that year, “Today is a red-letter day for the New York Times. For the first time, the paper has reported in its news section that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright once uttered the phrase ‘God damn America,’” speaking of angry and derisive fellas.

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