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McCain: Innuendo or fact? (update)
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, February 21, 2008

And does it matter?

The hot story for the day, at least among the chatterati, is the NY Times story which claims, sort of, kind of, that John McCain had an affair with a lobbyist (Vicki Iseman). Of course the supposed affair is denied by both parties and, to make it an even less relevant story, supposedly happened during his 2000 run for the presidency.

Now for Democrats, of course, this is no big deal. It's just a story about sex. So to our leftist and Democratic commenters, I assume you'll be silent about this.

There's another twist to this story, well actually a couple.

The NY Times endorsed John McCain and then ran this story. Either the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing (which with that organization is entirely possible) or it does, but doesn't care. This is a story that was visible in 2000, why run it again now (with no more than the usual anonymous sources and nothing any more concrete then than now)? I question the timing.

The reason for the timing may involve, one of our favorite publications, The New Republic. According to the TNR website:
[TNR correspondent] Gabe Sherman is working on a piece about the Times' foot-dragging on the McCain story, and the back-and-forth within the paper about whether to publish it.
That prompted McCain aide Mark Salter to say:
"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."
Apparently the NYT had this story written in December but was holding it for some reason and that was the story Sherman was writing.

So is it a question of "smear McCain" to avoid a TNR smear? Is this "old news" undeserving of further coverage? Does this reflect more poorly on the NY Times or McCain?

Look at the difference between the Washington Post coverage of the same story and that of the NYT. Somehow they managed to make the same points without the rumor and innuendo of an affair.

UPDATE: John McCain has just held a news conference to specifically address the NYT story and has expressed disappointment in the NYT for running unfounded allegations. He also flatly denied the affair. He also denies knowing of his staff's intervention in 2000 to keep Iseman away. And he said he was never warned by his staff about staying away from her. Lastly, the letters he wrote on behalf of Iseman's clients were appropriate for his role as a committee chairman. He essentially challenged the integrity of the NY Times.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Finally, a good reason to back McCain...
 
Written By: Is
URL: http://
TNR? The publication that backed Scott Beauchamp? You don’t say.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Nice sitting on the story to manipulate the Republican Primary and have a later weapon to tilt things in the Democrat’s favor.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Since we are going on accusations of a McCain affair 8 years ago without even a blue dress to prove it will the NY Times publish the rumors of the lesbian love affair that Hillary is supposed to be having with her aide?

Somehow I tend to doubt it.


 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://
Finally, a good reason to back McCain...
You know, it would be a good reason if McCain had given the right reasons all along to want to back him. Yes, the NYTimes ran a poorly veiled partisan smear as a news story for reasons (any one of them you chose) that make it harder for the left to defend any so-called objectivity the NYT may still have. But, given McCain’s constant thumb in the right eye, this incident does not make McCain more likable, more approachable, more believable, or more conservative. It merely more sullies the plunging journalistic reputation of the newspaper of record.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Since we are going on accusations of a McCain affair 8 years ago without even a blue dress to prove it will the NY Times publish the rumors of the lesbian love affair that Hillary is supposed to be having with her aide?

Somehow I tend to doubt it.
What about Edwards affair and possible love child?
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
"Finally, a good reason to back McCain"...

Bains, somehow I believe my sarcasm did not come through in my original post.
 
Written By: Is
URL: http://
See, the Times is stupid. Are they intentionally trying to rally Conservatives around the guy?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
If the NYT was "sitting on" this story to help the Dems then their timing is way off. If they really wanted to hurt McCain then it would sit for a few more months. As for Edwards, who cares, he’s no longer a candidate. Unless he turns up as the VP nominee I suspect we’ve seen the last of him on the National Stage. If he does turn up then maybe you just have to wait a while if you think there’s a real story there. Ditto for any Hillary dirt. If it’s there it will appear. Any credibility the NYT had has long washed away thanks to Judy Miller, Jayson Blair, Ho Won Lee or whatever his name was. Hell they have Wee Willie Kristol writing for them now, who’s engaged in a furious contest with Maureen Dowd on which one can write the most inane column.

 
Written By: Pedro the Illegal
URL: http://
Perhaps it was there and I just missed it. I have been hearing that argument being made however, and can only remember many comments made when the NYTimes was endorsing McCain by McCain’s opponents. After the normal observation that of course the Times would endorse the most liberal Republican, was nearly always tacked on the comment that when it comes to the general election, the Times would turn quickly and viciously upon McCain, naturally favoring the real leftist.

It is an I told you so moment of deep import. The David Brooks and Bill Kristol argument that McCain is best suited to work with the left is based upon the mis-perception (I think) that the left wants to work with the right. After all tha back-stabbing McCain has done to engender the "support" of the center and left, the left is just as willing to throw McCain under the bus.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
According to Bob Bennett, McCain’s lawyer, the McCain camp answered pages and pages of questions from the NYT and included many examples of legislation in which McCain did not back lobbying efforts from the same people he is alleged to have traded money for influence in the NYT’s article.

None of those examples made it into the article, and neither did most of McCain’s explanations.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
If the NYT was "sitting on" this story to help the Dems then their timing is way off.
Well its a good thing you didn’t mis McQ’s section on The New Republic forcing the NYT’s hand.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Well its a good thing you didn’t mis McQ’s section on The New Republic forcing the NYT’s hand.
You’ll have to elaborate. The only thing remotely related to your conspiracy theory is a quote from a McCain spokesman. Gonna have to do better than that. The article is a POS, on that we agree. The NYT has some serious credibility issues, going back a number of years. I think we agree on that. I think we just disagree on the motivations. McQ is on to something about the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. Seems most plausible.
 
Written By: Pedro the Illegal
URL: http://
How old is the story?
How long ago did McCain become the defacto Republican nominee?

If you don’t see something with that timing, I feel sorry for you.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
"Apparently the NYT had this story written in December but was holding it for some reason "

Perhaps waiting for some actual evidence to back up the rumors. Obviously the NYT is seeking to compete with the National Enquirer, the Star, et al. for that lucrative supermarket checkout niche. Next week we will learn about John McCain’s alien love child, with front page pictures!
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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