New York Times Asks for Rewrite on McCain Op-Ed
The right is taking it as a rejection.
Power Line has the complete text of the op-ed as it was submitted to the Times.
Kate Phillips at the NYT blog, The Caucus, has David Shipley’s letter to McCain asking him to revise the piece and resubmit it.
Vincent Rossmaier, writing at Salon’s The War Room, finds the right’s outraged response a bit problematic:
Right on cue, right-wing bloggers have reacted to Shipley’s decision with outrage and allegations of liberal media bias. Little Green Footballs fumed that the Times refused McCain’s article while running pieces by Yasser Arafat and members of Hamas in the past. The blog Gateway Pundit asked, sarcastically, “Media bias … What media bias?” and, in citing the full text of McCain’s article, continued, “Here’s the editorial that The New York Times refused to publish. It is fantastic. It is a brilliant piece of writing that absolutely destroys Obama’s phony attempts this week to look like a Commander in Chief … Barack Obama is a war loser, plain and simple.”
These heated protestations overlooked a number of fairly obvious factors relating to this story. For one, in his rejection e-mail, Shipley was friendly and repeatedly emphasized that he’d be “very eager to publish the Senator on the Op-Ed page” and offered to review another draft. In fact, the Times’ Op-Ed page has printed submissions from McCain on several other occasions, including a piece in March 2003 titled “The Right War for the Right Reasons” in which the senator argued for the justness of the Iraq invasion.
The sticking point, to some degree, seemed to be Shipley’s request that McCain define “victory” in the Op-Ed. That request poses obvious difficulties for McCain, who — like other supporters of the war — has been decidedly reluctant to be pinned down on a definition. If you really wanted to, you could claim that Shipley deliberately tried to corner McCain by including what was, in effect if not intention, a poison pill in his request for a rewrite. But such an attempt at policy explication hardly seems to constitute media bias. It’s reasonable to expect politicians to be able to explain their positions.
Much is being made on the right of Shipley’s telling McCain he wanted his piece to “mirror” Obama’s: All that means is that Shipley wants McCain’s piece to do the same thing as Obama’s did: lay out his own proposed foreign policies and explain his own vision for America’s place in the world. McCain’s essay was just another campaign attack on Obama; it said nothing about McCain’s own ideas on U.S. foreign policy going forward. What does he want to accomplish and how is he going to do that?
Of course, McCain doesn’t have any problem with the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq, so how could he come up with anything different? Just let’s keep on doing what we’ve been doing; that’s his policy.
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