Friday, February 22, 2008

McCain and the New York Times

I think Ezra Klein sums it up pretty well:

"If the New York Times has evidence that John McCain conducted an affair with a lobbyist, then they should come out and say so. To try and imply it primarily by reporting the concerns of members of McCain's staff and halfhearted denials from his allies is confusing for the reader and bad for the paper. They don't get to create plausible deniability by hiding the charges in a much longer exploration of McCain's reputation for honesty and his history with lobbyists and special interests -- the substance of the story is whether McCain had an affair with a lobbyist, and whether he then advocated for her clients improperly. Those two things either happened or they didn't, and the paper should just tell us which it is."

It wouldn't suprise me in the least if McCain had an affair but the Times has not documented that. The NY Times has trotted out a piece more becoming of the Enquirer than of the Paper of Record.


Ilya said...

Xtra, I'm disappointed. I'd expected you to actually think for yourself with respect to the NYT's piece on McCain, rather than fall back on the line that has been trotted out again and again about the poor quality of the article.

That charge is simply not true. The article is not about whether McCain had a romantic relationship with Iseman. It's an article about the views of McCain's "small circle of advisers." They are the ones that believe McCain may have had a romantic relationship with one of his female lobbyists. To quote the actual article: "to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity." The NYT isn't making this up on spurious evidence.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

Ill, the peg of the article and the framing relies on the notion of a romantic relationship, one that is purely innuendo and speculation though possible, to frame the story. The Iseman relationship is a foil for the rest of the article. This doesn't mean the story doesn't have other worthwhile observations but its basic hook is the result of shoddy reporting. But in the end this is a way to allege adultery without doing your homework. My point stands.

Article aside, I dispute the notion of redemption being central to McCain's narrative. McCain seems to believe everybody has forgotten about such transgressions as Keating Five and thus holds himself forth as if there is no need for redemption.