Palin loves the New York Times

PALIN LOVES THE NEW YORK TIMES…. Sometimes, an erratic campaign just doesn’t think things through.

Ms. Palin seized on their relationship after the campaign of Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, said it planned to shift its strategy and try to turn the campaign into a referendum on Mr. Obama.

“Well, I was reading my copy of today’s New York Times and I was interested to read about Barack’s friends from Chicago,” Ms. Palin said at the fund-raiser in Englewood, Colo. “Turns out one of Barack’s earliest supporters is a man who, according to The New York Times, and they are hardly ever wrong, was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.’ Wow.”

Wow, indeed. The New York Times is “hardly ever wrong”?

First, I’m not sure whether Palin has some kind of reading-comprehension problem, but if she actually read the Times piece about Ayers, she might have noticed that the story actually undercuts the McCain campaign’s smear. Ayers and Obama, the paper reported, “do not appear to have been close.”

Second, if Palin is convinced that the Times is “hardly ever wrong,” she may want to tell her the conservative operatives running her campaign. It was, after all, just two weeks ago that Steve Schmidt, McCain’s chief strategist, told reporters, “Whatever the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization. It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization…. This is an organization that is completely, totally, 150 percent in the tank for the Democratic candidate.”

That was 13 days ago. Now that it’s run a story about Ayers — which, not incidentally, belies the McCain campaign’s attempted smear — it’s a newspaper that is “hardly ever wrong.”

Sometimes, watching these guys, it’s hard not to get the sense that the right hand doesn’t know what the further-right hand is doing.

Update: Several readers have tried to convince me that Palin was being sarcastic — when she said “hardly ever wrong,” she meant the opposite. But that doesn’t seem to make any sense. In context, she’s relying on a Times article as evidence to bolster her attack. If Palin’s intention was to be sarcastic, she was stepping on her own argument, within the same sentence. That seems unlikely.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.