There has been a recent surge of indignation against the NYT by McCain supporters. Why? Because the op-ed piece he submitted didn’t get accepted, but Obama’s did. More correctly, McCain’s op-ed was not accepted in its current form, but the Times said they would look for ward to a second draft. A McCain spokesman said he would not change his piece based on ‘the demands of the New York Times’. Personally, I find that a little bit harsh.
Sure, if you’re in a political race, getting publicity in a recognized newspaper like the Times is great. Especially if it’s positive publicity. Especially if it’s really getting across your views to the voters. It’s understandable that McCain wants to have the same treatment as Obama, and the same access to the media as a resource. It’s also understandable that McCain would want to have a fair shot at addressing his disagreement with Obama on policy in Iraq. While it is not necessarily the paper’s responsibility to publish both sides of politics (freedom of the press, after all), it’s generally considered good form, and I think the Times will suffer some criticism because of it.
But the editor of the Times also has a point. McCain is only responding to Obama in his op-ed. He’s not laying out his own policy in a clear manner, other than saying he would be sure to consult with those ‘on the ground’ in Iraq. He’s not giving up a good sense of what his policy might be in the future, other than the fact that he doesn’t want to rely on timetables. I think that’s a loss for him. It’s a mistake not to give the reading and voting public a clear sense of your policy views, and what your reaction might be to a given situation. In my mind, when the response to the time editor should’ve been ‘oops’, it was anger instead. Why not take the criticism as constructive, and give us something with a little more detail and a little fuller perspective, since you have the opportunity? If you truly believe your positions are the will of the American people, that alone should sway us.