Later in the day, one of Mr. McCain’s senior advisers directed strong criticism at The Times in what appeared to be a deliberate campaign strategy to wage a war with the newspaper. Mr. McCain is deeply distrusted by conservatives on several issues, not least because of his rapport with the news media, but he could find common ground with them in attacking a newspaper that many conservatives revile as a left-wing publication.
Let me get this straight. The Times has run an article relying on anonymous, disgruntled former associates as sources, dredging up old stories and making base accusations with no hard evidence in support. But it's McCain who's waging war?
If, by criticizing the Times, McCain has decided to "wage a war" with the paper, then what has the Times decided to do to McCain? If a newspaper tries to destroy someone's reputation and campaign, and the person believes that what the paper says is false, it's waging war to respond? A cynical McCain ploy to curry favor with conservatives, as the Times insinuates, or a cynical Times ploy to advance the interests of the Dem nominee for whom, according to the New Republic, it's in the tank?
Tellingly, while the article is full of quotes from the McCain camp and the Times's analysis of its motives, it is devoid of any statements from Times reporters or editors, much less analysis of the newspaper's motives.
The Times apparently likes its wars one-sided: sit down, shut up, and let us destroy you. Unfortunately for the Grey Lady, McCain knows how to punch back.
Update 7:10 | Matthew Sheffield. Frankly, I'm surprised the Times actually was able to admit that many conservatives see the paper as left-wing. Usually even that much candor is uncommon over there.