N.Y. Times rejects McCain’s Iraq essay

John McCain has felt the sting of rejection for what he no doubt considered a finely wrought piece of prose (we know the feeling). But it appears that for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee (and perhaps one of his ghost writers), all’s well that ends well.

As first reported on the Drudge Report, the New York Times rejected an opinion piece submitted by McCain that sought to counter an essay on Iraq by Barack Obama that appeared -- prominently -- on the paper’s Op-Ed page July 14.

“I’m not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written,” a Times editor, David Shipley, informed the McCain campaign, according to Drudge.

Shipley, in requesting a rewrite from the McCain camp, elaborated that Obama’s offering “worked for me because it offered new information; . . . while Sen. Obama discussed Sen. McCain, he also went into detail about his own plans.” For a parallel piece to pass his muster, Shipley added, it “would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Sen. McCain defines victory in Iraq.”


In a written statement Monday, the New York Times also said that it “is standard procedure on our Op-Ed page, and that of other newspapers, to go back and forth with an author on his or her submission.”

“We look forward to publishing Sen. McCain’s views in our paper just as we have in the past,” the statement added, noting that the newspaper has published “at least seven Op-Ed pieces by Sen. McCain since 1996.”

Shipley may have been on slippery ground in touting the “new information” that Obama had provided; little leaps out in a rereading. Indeed, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee introduced several of his specifics with the phrases “As I’ve said many times” and “As I have often said.”

The Drudge post asserts that the rebuff “has ignited explosive charges of media bias in top Republican circles.”


It’s possible that top Republicans are delighted to have a fresh reason to flog a newspaper that is a tried-and-true target for conservatives. And the flap probably has called far more attention to the McCain article -- run in its entirety by Drudge -- than would have been the case had it cropped up, without fanfare, inside the Times.

-- Don Frederick

Frederick is one of the writers of The Times’ political blog, Top of the Ticket, at