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Eye On Candidates
June 11, 2015

NY Times Critical Coverage of Rubio Giving Him A Boost?

The New York Times has had two critical articles of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in recent days, with one focusing on he and his wife's traffic tickets over the past two decades and another on his personal finances. Both articles have been criticized and mocked extensively for their triviality, including by The Daily Show host John Stewart who had the following comments regarding the Times coverage, according to Politico:

The same Times report also found that Rubio used $100,000 from an $800,000 payment to write his book “An American Son” to pay off his student loans.

“You bastard! Paying off law school loans? How dare you. At long last, senator, have you no sense of insolvency?” Stewart deadpanned...

That story followed a shorter item last Friday in which the Times reported on the 17 parking tickets accrued by Rubio and his wife Jeanette. (His wife racked up 13 of those citations in that time; Rubio had 4.)

“Oh sh—! Marco Rubio got … 4 tickets! In … 17 years! I assume The New York Times obtained this damning information from Marco Rubio’s plaque in the ‘Hall of Best Miami Drivers Ever,’” Stewart cracked.

He also referenced the Times’ reporting of the Rubios’ purchase in 2005 of a larger home for $550,000 in 2005 that included, according to the paper, “an in-ground pool, a handsome brick driveway, meticulously manicured shrubs and oversize windows.”

“Oh, what’s the matter, senator? The normal amount of light isn’t good enough for you?” Stewart joked. “I’m Senator Marco Rubio. I like to roll around in giant patches of sunlight! Like I’m a big ol’ kitty cat. Meow...”

Mockery aside, the Times' negative coverage of Rubio could be providing a boost to his campaign, according to a story in The Hill:

Rubio revels in 'media attacks'

Sen. Marco Rubio’s quest for the Republican presidential nomination is getting an unlikely lift from The New York Times.

The newspaper has published two unflattering stories about the Florida senator in the course of five days, including a piece about his family’s traffic violations that was widely mocked on Twitter.

Republican strategists argue that attacks from the mainstream media, and the Times in particular, could help galvanize conservatives behind Rubio’s candidacy.

“If you’re a Republican, there is probably no better bogeyman for you than The New York Times,” said GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak, who also writes for The Hill’s Contributors' blog...

It's hard to understand why the Times thought the story about traffic tickets was newsworthy (the financial stuff is a little more understandable, if not the spin they put on it), but it's clear that if its hope was to damage Rubio, it hasn't played out quite the way they planned.