NYT editor: 'This is not a witch hunt'

In a statement eerily reminiscent of Richard Nixon's "I am not a crook" moment, New York Times assistant managing editor Jim Roberts denies the obvious truth of the media frenzy to find something with which to beat up a former vice presidential candidate who holds no public office, Sarah Palin.

It is worth knowing that Mrs. Palin's public status equals that of John Edwards, another statewide officeholder/former vice presidential candidate (albeit from a much larger state, and with a national office) whose peccadilloes were of no interest whatsoever to the mainstream media until the National Enquirer did the hard work gumshoe investigatory journalism that the old guard media find too taxing these days.

The "but everybody was doing it" defense is also invoked:

The Times, like The Post and others, uploaded the e-mails onto its Web site and invited readers to sift through them and comment on anything compelling they found. (Because the state of Alaska made the e-mails available only on paper, news organizations had to scan them to make them viewable online.)

"From our perspective, we're just providing the public records to the public, who own them," said Bill Dedman, a reporter for MSNBC.com who was helping lead his Web site's effort. "The people of Alaska will figure out what news or insights they find in their public records."

Time reporter Jeremy W. Peters does a fair job in his account summarizing both the criticisms of the frenzy and the MSM self-justifications. It should be noted that Peters, who seems to cover the media for the Times, was the reporter who quoted new NYT executive editor Jill Abramson's breathtaking admission that the Times was her substitute for religion, a statement so self-revelatory and embarrassing that the Times editors quickly removed it from Peters' online article. Perhaps it was Jim Roberts who decided that?