Jennifer Rubin of Commentary Magazine has a great on-the-ground report from Wednesday's McCain-Palin rally in Fairfax, Va., in which an anonymous Times reporter (who could be Elisabeth Bumiller) demonstrated why many Americans don't trust the paper. Rubin was inthe designated media area next to " a well-known New York Times reporter" trying to get some interviews with the pro-McCain crowd:
When she told two middle-aged ladies that she was from the Times they recoiled. She breathlessly assured them that "editorial has nothing to do with the news." They stared blankly. She grabbed a copy of the Grey Lady from her bag, as if to point out that there were different pages for opinion and news. They looked skeptical. She pressed on, "Do you read the New York Times ?"
One of the ladies meekly replied, "I read about the New York Times." I began to chuckle softly. She turned, "Who do you write for? Why are you laughing?" I began to respond that her line was likely not effective with this crowd, but she interrupted, "I do this all the time." She then turned to her interviewee (who was now on the receiving end of a painful sales pitch) and continued, "You have to read the New York Times . Don't just listen to what Bill O'Reilly says."
Bumiller's story in Thursday's Times on the rally only quoted one "real" person in the crowd, a man. The incredibly awkward metaphor that appeared in Bumiller's Wednesday evening online post was retained in the print version:
For now, Mr. McCain seems a happy captive in a hijacked campaign. Before Ms. Palin joined the ticket, he typically attracted crowds in the low hundreds for what his own aides admit were at times soporific events.