That was just “over-the-top,” according to Harwood who is also a reporter for the Times.
Harwood appeared on MSNBC’s Sept. 22 “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” to analyze how the McCain campaign was handling the current turmoil in the financial markets – a problem Harwood has already said would benefit Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama.
“It was pretty over the top, the statements that Steve Schmidt [McCain strategist] was making and it is an acceleration of a pattern that we’ve seen,” Harwood said. “We saw it in the 2004 campaign – the Bush people were aggressive about blaming the press. It is, as you mentioned to Jonathan [Alter of Newsweek], a way to rally the base and it also expresses some frustration. They know they are behind the 8-ball with this economic crisis. They had momentum coming out of their convention.”
It might not come as a surprise to Times readers that McCain felt attacked by the publication. Earlier this year, the Times used anonymous sources to push nine-year-old allegations from McCain’s first presidential run suggesting an improper relationship between McCain and a female telecommunications lobbyist.
Harwood chalked up McCain’s media pushback as “frustration” and an inability to address the current banking crisis.
“There’s frustration there,” Harwood said. “They are trying to get the attention away from some of the things the press wants to talk about and on to different ground and try to redefine a little bit, this economic crisis. It’s not something about broad economic policies, but about individual greed and corruption. The problem of course is you’ve got some of McCain advisors who are involved in the activities that he’s condemning.”
But McCain has offered proposals to address the current crisis. His proposed Mortgage and Financial Institutions Trust would aim to prevent bankruptcies while protecting customers, according to the McCain campaign.
As Jim Geraghty of National Review explained in a post on Sept. 22, the Times and Harwood, in his segment on “Countdown,” failed to point out that McCain had been an advocate of stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“The New York Times tried to make an issue of [McCain campaign manager Rick]