I’ve always thought that one of the key things John McCain needed to do to win over conservatives was to pick a fight with the media. For years, McCain’s cozy relationship with the press was one of the main reason so many conservatives were suspicious of him. It seems like McCain may have his opening now. The thinly-sourced NY Times piece on McCain has been universally blasted by conservatives as an unfair hit job, and the timing of the story–right after he all but sewed up the nomination–will raise even more questions. If he plays this right, McCain will be in a position where it’s him and conservatives vs. the New York Times. That’s a good place to be in if you want to ingratiate yourself to conservatives.
It seems that the McCain camp has noticed. McCain advisor Mark McKinnon told CBN’s David Brody: “The story is a total smear. It’s speculation and rumor based on unnamed sources with an axe to grind. The New York Times has lowered its standards to the level of the National Enquirer. And voters will see it for what it is, including evangelicals. All they need to hear is three words: New York Times.”
If what is insinuated in this story gets corroborated by other news outlets with better sourcing, that’s a different story. But all we have to go on right now is the NYT piece, and it’s pretty thin gruel. So, for now, score one for McCain.