The New York Times says, “How high?” The New York Times never saw the desk it wouldn’t hide behind.
So it is as Michael Shear reports a charge concerning the Joe Soptic ad.
Shear plays dumb about a charge from the RNC. Here’s the background:
The controversial ad about Soptic’s wife was produced by a pro-Obama PAC, not by the Obama campaign. Whatever one may think of the ad, it wasn’t produced by the campaign.
That means it wasn’t produced by Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager. But yesterday, the RNC began complaining about something Cutter said.
Or they began to complain about something like that. As usual, it’s hard to tell from reading the Times.
Here’s how Shear reports the problem in today’s hard-copy Times:
SHEAR (8/10/12): The ad has been widely criticized for going too far in suggesting that Mr. Romney is responsible for the death of Mr. Soptic’s wife.Can you spot a contradiction? Cutter didn’t produce the new ad. The ad the campaign produced with Soptic said nothing about his wife’s death.
Pressed about the ad by reporters, Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for Mr. Obama, said she didn’t “know the facts about when Mr. Soptic’s wife got sick or the facts about his health insurance.”
But in May, Ms. Cutter led a conference call in which Mr. Soptic was given a platform to tell his story. During the call, Mr. Soptic described the difficulties his family faced after the plant closed, including his wife’s cancer.
Mr. Soptic also appeared in an ad produced by Mr. Obama’s campaign, though he did not tell the story of his wife’s death in that ad.
According to Shear, Soptic discussed his wife's death in a conference call in May. That doesn't mean that Cutter knows the facts about her death.
Yesterday, Cutter said he doesn’t “know the facts about when Mr. Soptic’s wife got sick or the facts about his health insurance.” And as Shear continues his report, it sounds like Cutter has perhaps been accused of a lie:
SHEAR (continuing directly): Aides to Mr. Obama emphasized that the campaign did not produce the ad. Federal law does not allow presidential campaigns to coordinate with groups like Priorities USA Action.Someone has been accused of “lying about this.” Who knows? The RNC could be right!
“No one is denying that he was in one of our campaign ads,” said Jen Psaki, an Obama campaign spokeswoman. “What is clear here again is that we are focusing so much on an ad that has not run yet that is done by an outside group.”
But Mr. Romney’s supporters are not satisfied. The Republican National Committee released a video asking, “if they’re lying about this, what else are they lying about?” (End of report)
But who is supposed to be “lying about this?” What are they supposed to be lying about? Each point is completely unclear in Shear’s hard-copy report.
The Times isn’t real big on logic. Clarity is rarely a point of concern.
The New York Times likes to cover its keister. When the RNC says someone is lying, the New York Times says, “How high?”
Shear’s hard-copy report is a mess. Someone has been accused of a lie. But the Times is too feckless, too frightened, too dumb to make the RNC say who it is. Meanwhile, what is that person alleged to be lying about?
The Times doesn’t bother to say.
On-line version: This morning’s hard-copy report isn’t available on-line. Click here for a version of the report which appears on-line.