Somebody better break it to the New York Times: they might still be the paper of record in their own minds, but to the rest of the world they're just one more dead-tree joint struggling for attention.
The Old Grey Lady's unjustified conceit was on display during this afternoon's Hardball, when one of its columnists was aghast that Chris Matthews had had the audacity not to have read her oeuvre.
Deborah Solomon, who has a weekly column in the NYT Sunday magazine, had interviewed the Rev. John Hagee, a minister who has endorsed McCain and has made a number of controversial statements. I'd mention in passing that while Hagee's critics have accused him of anti-Semitism, he has in fact received numerous awards from Jewish groups for his steadfast support of Israel.
Solomon's article will appear in this Sunday's NYT magazine section. While Matthews mentioned that the article is online now, I couldn't find it despite earnest searching.
Be that as it may, let's move to the amusing and telling exchange between Solomon and Matthews. The Hardball host had earlier lauded the newspaper, calling it "the glorious New York Times," but that apparently was insufficient homage in Solomon's book.
DEBORAH SOLOMON: It's interesting that Jeremiah Wright has not given any interviews this week, and I was wondering would he appear with Barack Obama during the now-famous talk on race. He did not; he's hidden away, and Pastor Hagee also was very reluctant to give me the interview. He was worried he would drag Senator McCain down into the mud with him, and um --
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Did he do that with you?
SOLOMON: Well, what do you mean? Did he --
MATTHEWS: In other words, is there stuff in the interview that shows up on Sunday that's gonna hurt McCain?
SOLOMON: You didn't read it yet?
MATTHEWS [visibly annoyed at the question]: No.
SOLOMON [shocked and appalled]: Oh!
Solomon went on to opine that a pastor's words shouldn't hurt a candidate because "we believe in separation of church and state in this country." What? Can it possibly be that a NYT reporter doesn't understand the difference between the constitutional prohibition against the state's establishment of a religion and the right of every citizen to judge a candidate on whatever grounds he deems fit, including, say, having chosen as his "spiritual guide" a pastor who calls on God to damn America?
Solomon, a fellow Cornell alum, seems a perfectly nice person. But deal with it, Deborah: the Old Grey Lady just ain't what she used to be.