The New York Times doesn’t bother any longer to conceal its boosterism for Barack Obama or to uphold any semblance of journalistic integrity. You can get the drift of their latest hit piece on Cindy McCain here, and you can read up on the latest Times tactic — lying to teenage friends of the candidate’s daughter to dish dirt. (Can we now dispense with the snooty condescension about tabloids which “pay” for stories? That seems to be a vast improvement over trolling for teenagers through Facebook.)
But what impact does this have? A story like this, I would suggest, does nothing for Obama. Anyone not firmly in the Obama camp isn’t going to moved by this hatchet job. First, it doesn’t say anything of note about the candidate (oh, him). Moreover, the venom flows so freely that it is hard to imagine an undecided voter or a weak McCain supporter would ignore all of that and conclude, “By gosh — how could I vote for McCain, now!”
However, the cumulative effect of hit pieces on Cindy, the Sarah Palin feeding frenzy, and the “get Joe” effort has made many conservatives really mad. What’s more, this is the sort of thing that would engage an irregular voter, one who might not otherwise make the effort to turn out on Election Day. Indeed, if you came up with a plan for juicing up the conservative turnout it would be hard to come up with a better one: attack the spouse and belittle the little people. Probably not what the Gray Lady had in mind.