At least not the liberal leanings of the paper.

To catch folks up, the New York Times had a piece ready last year that the McCain campaign was desperate not to see published. The story involves McCain’s past ties to lobbyists, including one relationship with a female lobbyists that aides felt was too close for comfort during the 2000 campaign. What is implied is that the two were having an affair. What is known is that aides were worried about alleged comments she was making to others regarding her access to McCain.

Accusations from the campaign and elsewhere have focused on the New York Times’ liberal leanings, but I think it’s more about selling papers.

Swampland notes the paper is all about equal-opportunity:

Past examples of this include a 2006 front-page blowout called, “For Clintons, Delicate Dance of Married and Public Lives,” which seemed to be written simply to leave open the possibility that Bill Clinton was still fooling around with other women. Key cryptic sentence: “Interviews with some 50 people and a review of their respective activities show that since leaving the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton have built largely separate lives.” Hmmm.

And then the campaign tells Time that this is all about saving face after tossing the story last fall.

McCain senior aide Mark Salter:

“They did this because the The New Republic was going to run a story that looked back at the infighting there,” Salter said, “the Judy Miller-type power struggles — they decided that they would rather smear McCain than suffer a story that made the New York Times newsroom look bad.”

What’s really going to hurt McCain is the number of times the word lobbyist comes up in the story and the mountain of follow-ups from other news agencies. Each time takes a little more sheen off the anti-lobbyist medal.