Ok, so they’re not using those exact words… but with this patent nonsense it’s quite clear that that’s their strategy.
I can’t put it better than NewsBusters.
From Elisabeth Bumiller’s New York Times follow-up article of today [emphasis added]:
Later in the day, one of Mr. McCain’s senior advisers directed strong criticism at The Times in what appeared to be a deliberate campaign strategy to wage a war with the newspaper. Mr. McCain is deeply distrusted by conservatives on several issues, not least because of his rapport with the news media, but he could find common ground with them in attacking a newspaper that many conservatives revile as a left-wing publication.
Let me get this straight. The Times has run an article relying on anonymous, disgruntled former staffers as sources, dredging up old stories and making base accusations with no hard evidence in support. But it’s McCain who’s waging war?
For the record, even Jon Stewart thinks this is bogus. Apparently, the NYT has ignored twice similar rumours (and this barley qualifies as even that) when democrats are involved – as they should for everyone.