Slate's Shafer: NYT Isn't Pulling for Obama

"I don't believe that the Times is pulling for Barack Obama." Jack Shafer, Slate, 9-23-08

There's actually much to agree with in Jack Shafer's column today regarding McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt's criticism of the New York Times.  Consider this observation by Shafer, for example:

The press corps does adore Barack Obama. They like his story. They like writing about him. They like the way he gives speeches. They like the way he makes them feel. And they don't mind cutting him slack whenever he acts like a regular politician—which he is.

But Shafer, Slate's resident media critic, also expresses the to-me mind-boggling belief cited at the top of this item, that the Times isn't pulling for Obama. So stunned was I by Shafer's claim that I wrote him, seeking clarification.  He was nice enough to reply, and I'm setting forth our exchange here:

Me: Is it your view that unlike the rest of the press, the NYT does not adore Obama, or is it that the Times doesn't pull for him despite adoring him?

Shafer: Everybody adores Obama, just as everybody loved McCain in 2000. But that doesn't mean they're pulling for him.

Me:  It's hard to imagine that most journalists are so principled and disciplined that they can adore a candidate without pulling for him.

To be precise: I sent my inquiry to the email address Slate provided for correspondence with Shafer's column, and addressed my message to him by name. The reply was from that account, but unsigned.  I'm assuming it came from Shafer.

So what do people think:

  • Is the NYT not pulling for Obama?
  • Is it possible for MSMers to simultaneously "adore" Obama yet not pull for him?
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.