24 February 2008

NY Times (Sort Of) Falls On Its Sword Over John McCain, Lobbyist Story

The ombudsman for the New York Times says the paper should never have published the salacious piece on Sen. McCain, which was riddled with ancient information and very little news.

Hoyt also criticized Times executive editor Bill Keller's explanation that the article's main thrust was not the alleged affair but the political favors the Republican bestowed on a lobbyist, which Hoyt said "ignored the scarlet elephant in the room."

"A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than what most of them did. ... The stakes are just too big."

The story that still may have legs is the question over improper relationships with lobbyists -- improper business relationships. Investigative reporters from the Times and other news organizations are going to stay on this one like a dog on a meaty bone.

I still find it contradictory that somehow Mr. McCain's relationships with lobbyists -- business relationships -- are no need for worry, but that he felt the need to stifle my free speech by putting the efforts of organizations as diverse as the NRA and ACLU in a stranglehold within just a few days of an election.

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