Does the Times have a favorite Democratic candidate?
Reporter Leslie Wayne, in Iowa with the John Edwards campaign, filed the Times' latest strongly  positive story on "populist" (not liberal!) John Edwards, who the Times seems determined to make into the next John F. Kennedy or Bobby Kennedy.Wayne's latestis aglowing profile ofEdwards' latest Iowa campaign event, which Wayne saw as pure Americana. The headline: "A Candidate Tends His Field of Dreams ."
"Surrounding him were about 100 voters, all seated on outdoor chairs provided by the local Congregational church, in a scene that could not have been more picturesquely American - democracy in action at its most intimate level. Even the music of John Mellencamp - 'Our Country' - helped make that point.
"For Mr. Edwards, Iowa is his field of dreams. He built his campaign strategy on the belief that a victory in the Iowa caucuses next January would propel him to front-runner status and position him well for New Hampshire and the crush of Feb. 5 primaries. Statewide polls that often placed him at the top of the pack here suggested that his hard work in Iowa had paid off."
In its 2004 election coverage,the Times displayed a stark double standard when it came to informal campaign events put on by Republicans and Democrats. George W. Bush "field[ed] softballs from the faithful" that sometimes "aren't even questions at all." By contrast, the Kerry-Edwards ticket got flattering coverage of its own "home-spun" events: "The low-key, invitation-only events, where perhaps 100 people sit around red-checked picnic tables, raising hands with questions rather than waving signs with slogans, mimic the town-hall style campaigning for the Iowa caucuses at which both Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards excelled."