Think back to the intelligence stories from a few years back, where the Times decided that their story was more important than a legitimate means of tracking terrorist finances. Or that it was okay, and even helpful, to tell terrorists how and when the telephone conversations were being monitored?
Now they have sunk to the level of the Star, publishing pointless innuendo. One might expect such an accusation from a conservative, like John Gibson on Fox News yesterday, who said, "if you're going to have a sex scandal, you probably ought to have some sex." But the Times is also being skewered by, of all people, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer! ( A newspaper whose editorial board is frequently about as intelligent as a post, which is where I suppose they got the name.)
I could not find this only P-I's own website, but it is here, with a hat tip. Managing editor David McCumber writes:
"To me, the story had serious flaws. It did not convincingly make the case that McCain either had an affair with a lobbyist, or was improperly influenced by her."
"For a story that dealt with the maybe, looked-like-to-some-people, nobody-knew-for-sure dalliance in an extraordinarily elliptical fashion, it sure had a lot of impact."
"This story seems to me not to pass the smell test. It makes the innuendo of impropriety, even corruption, without backing it up. I was taught that before you run something in the newspaper that could ruin somebody's reputation, you'd better have your facts very straight indeed."
I do not understand why these people continue to get a White House press pass, and are considered serious journalists. Really.
FWIW: I also just noted in doing a final edit on this piece and inserting my links that even the Boston Globe declined to publish the story! the Globe is often regarded as more liberal, and I've heard not much good about its journalistic standards, but apparently they exceed those of the parent paper!
Follow-up: The Public Editor at the NYT closed out his column on this matter with this:
I asked Jill Abramson, the managing editor for news, if The Times could have done the story and left out the allegation about an affair. “That would not have reflected the essential truth of why the aides were alarmed,” she said.
But what the aides believed might not have been the real truth. And if you cannot provide readers with some independent evidence, I think it is wrong to report the suppositions or concerns of anonymous aides about whether the boss is getting into the wrong bed.