Defending The New York Times

Defending The New York Times. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

We've all had some time now to reflect on how The Times hammered John McCain. No question the paper has taken a huge PR hit and is reviled by many in America. But not all.

Left-wing partisans are happy they have a high-profile paper on their side and appreciate the bias, believing it can help put more liberal politicians into office.

And then there's the left-wing media itself, which often takes cues from The Times. Listen to Dan Rather on the journalists who put out the McCain story.


DAN RATHER: Jim Rutenberg, who was the lead reporter on this. Bill Keller, who's the editor who made the decision. These are not ordinary journalists. These are outstanding journalists and that probably needs to be said. Now if they can't back it up any further than they have, they're in a heap of trouble. On the record, it deserves to be said these are very responsible journalists.


Who would know better than Dan? But he's also signaling that he believes there's more to come on the McCain story and we shall see.

Now "Talking Points" is also troubled by the institutional left-wing bias at some of the nation's best journalism schools. So we asked the deans to comment on the McCain story.

At Columbia University, Dean Nicholas Lemann's spokesperson said, "He's not in a position to comment." Does that mean the dean's jaw is wired shut? Come on, Nick. You're the dean of a big J school, man. This is a huge issue. Man up, will you?

At Northwestern University, Dean John Lavine would not comment either. This guy has big problems himself, as some in Chicago say he faked some quotes in an article. Who knows?

But there's another troubled situation. At the University of Missouri, Dean Esther Thorson is apparently too frightened to comment. One word, dean: boo.

But in the two schools that I attended, we did get a response. Dean Tobe Berkovitz at Boston University says, "Most of the [McCain] story was a rehash... [and] based on anonymous sources. The bottom line is a continuing erosion of the credibility and stature of the Gray Lady of journalism."

And that would be The Times.

Across the river at Harvard, Thomas Patterson said, "[The article] looks awfully thin to me. Seems to be a lot of overreaching. My own sense is it doesn't reflect a political agenda. It's a journalistic agenda, which might be worse."

Now it's nice to see my tuition money didn't go to waste at BU and Harvard, because they did step up. The other deans should be ashamed of themselves.

"Talking Points" warns all Americans not to believe much of the press reporting about the presidential election because it will be dishonest. Be skeptical. Be aware of agendas.

That's not to say that some reporters don't do a good job. They do, like WFAA anchor Brad Watson in Dallas, Texas, who grilled Senator Clinton about the Obama African picture.


HILLARY CLINTON: You know, this is one more attempt by my opponent's campaign to change the subject. You'll have to ask him.

BRAD WATSON, WFAA REPORTER: But I'm asking you right now. Did your campaign start circulating it, senator? Did you put this out today?


WATSON: Your campaign manager is not denying it and you're not denying it. So I will assume that...

CLINTON: I — look, I know nothing about it. This is in the public domain.


All right. Now indications are once again that the attempt to marginalize Senator Obama by whomever has backfired.

And that is "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

Academy Award winning actress Hilary Swank is known as being a very nice person, and last week was honored with the 2008 Courage Award for her service to the Women's Cancer Research Fund. For this, Hilary Swank is a patriot.

No pinhead this evening because I couldn't find anyone worthy of the title, which is very unusual, as you know. But I did find one very smooth guy.


JANN CARL, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: So they make a movie about your life.



OBAMA: Well, Will Smith and I have talked about this. Because he has the ears, he might have an inside track on the role. You know, he's better looking than me, but we both have those.


OBAMA: Nobody's that beautiful. She'd have to play herself.


They don't come smoother than this guy.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads and Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on Send your comments to: