Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

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Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008
The New York Times and the affair it wants you to think John McCain had, without actually producing any evidence that he did

The New Republic takes credit for goading the Times into publishing an "investigation" so premature that it is easily characterizable as a smear.

Noting the thinness of the facts the NYT actually nailed down after months of investigation, TNR's Gabriel Sherman notes:
The story is filled with awkward journalistic moves--the piece contains a collection of decade-old stories about McCain and Iseman appearing at functions together and concerns voiced by McCain's aides that the Senator shouldn't be seen in public with Iseman--and departs from the Times' usual authoritative voice. At one point, the piece suggestively states: "In 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, 'Why is she always around?'" In the absence of concrete, printable proof that McCain and Iseman were an item, the piece delicately steps around purported romance and instead reports on the debate within the McCain campaign about the alleged affair.
To his credit, Times executive editor Bill Keller more than once delayed the story, telling his bloodhounds that whispers from ex-staffers about their own conversations with McCain wouldn't cut it. Says Keller:
"Our policy is, we publish stories when they are ready. 'Ready' means the facts have been nailed down to our satisfaction, the subjects have all been given a full and fair chance to respond, and the reporting has been written up with all the proper context and caveats."
But, if Gabriel Sherman is to be believed, 'ready,' as herein defined, is reached as soon as The New Republic is about the publish an article about how The New York Times is investigating, but not finding any facts about, a leading politician's alleged affair.