The newspaper of record, The New York Times does some alleged fact-checking that needs some serious fact-checking of its own.
First, the facts that both sides agree on:
Now we get to where the New York Times stops being an honest broker, and starts spinning (or allowing itself to be spun) by the Obama campaign.
In particular, the McCain campaign has explicitly linked Mr. Yousef’s statements to Mr. Obama’s repeatedly stated willingness to talk to so-called “rogue states” like Iran, North Korea and Cuba.
“Well, Iran is obviously an important supporter of Hamas,” Mr. McCain said Friday.
“Senator Obama wants to sit down and have negotiations and discussions with the person who just yesterday called Israel a quote ‘stinking corpse,’ ” he said, referring to Mr. Ahmadinejad, and “who continues to advocate quote ‘wiping Israel off the map.’ ”
Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate, said that “for political purposes, Senator Obama’s opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views. Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad. But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state. Mr. Obama believes “that engagement at the presidential level, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate preparation, can be used to leverage the change we need,” Dr. Rice said. “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”
Well, the reporter obviously didn't check the debate transcripts.
Now, let's be as fair as we can possibly manage. Maybe Obama has changed his mind. After all, that debate was months ago.
But the reporter never brings up this statement with Obama adviser Rice. In fact, following that last quoted paragraph, the reporter transitions the thrust of the article into a strawman -- that McCain was accusing Obama of being amenable to talks with Hamas instead of Iran.
Finally, here's the kicker. From Barack Obama's own Web site -- today.
Maybe there's some semantic difference discernable only by Ph. D. foreign policy advisers between "without preconditions" and "unconditionally," but it escapes me.
Reporter Larry Rohter has some explaining to do. And I've got a note to write to the public editor.