Why does the Times even run campaign-staff-written propaganda pieces from the candidates in the first place?
Arrogance heaped on arrogance. New York Times op-ed editor David Shipley nixes John McCain‘s rebuttal opinion piece — Drudge broke this news and notes that the paper ran Barack Obama‘s op-ed piece, “My Plan for Iraq,” less than a week ago.
OK, first of all, these aren’t written by the candidates. They’re written by the campaign staffs.
Second, why let the candidates spar this way instead of devoting your precious space to interpretation of their propaganda.
And giving dwindling news-hole space — don’t kid yourself, editors, op-ed space is news-hole space — for propaganda purposes is ludicrous. Pravda used to do the same thing back in the Soviet daze, allowing various party officials to exhort the masses about various five-year tractor-factory plans. Community papers all over the U.S. (those that still survive) do this crap all the time, letting various county commissioners or mayors plug their own projects.
Op-eds can be useful. Greg Mitchell at E&P pointed out on July 6 that it was Valerie Plame hubby Joe Wilson‘s Times op-ed five years ago, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” that kicked off Plamegate.
But Joe Wilson wasn’t a pol, let alone a presidential candidate.
In any case, Timesman Shipley was so gentle with McCain’s staff, e-mailing them, as Drudge wrote: “I’m not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written.”
What Shipley meant was: ‘Rewrite this piece of shit because we at the Times set the rules on the Iraq debate.’