Well well well, the sex scandal that never was turns out is, even if its not Hillary!/Huma as many of us hoped.
Although its most likely not true, it is true that there has been a sex scandal floating around out there for quite some time, and the NYT finally took the dive and printed it:
The senator had an improper romantic involvement, probably an affair, with a much younger woman. Her name is Vicki Iseman. She was 32 and McCain was 63 when their relationship took place eight years ago. It was stopped by the intervention of senior members of McCain’s staff after rumours swirled around Washington. Iseman was, and remains, a lobbyist. Her company gained favours from her dealings with McCain. He is a sanctimonious hypocrite who has crusaded as a moralist while maintaining cosy links with big business.
But the story has more holes that need filling than one of Hillary’s all-girl slumber parties:
The story is a carefully constructed insinuation of an illicit affair that never happened. To achieve this end, it is loaded with 54 separate conflations, innuendos, anonymous accusations and narrative sleights of hand. Collectively, they cascade into a piece that is so loaded, selective, emotive and distorted as to be unethical.
And this by the same newspaper that has published more fabrications than any other mainstream newspaper in America – courtesy of one Jayson Blair – yet has still not addressed the underlying flaw in the paper’s culture – a sly partisanship that permeates the appearance of scrupulous journalism.
This is the latest pratfall from a company in serious stagnation, even as it remains mesmerised by a sense of self-importance. Its share price and market value have dwindled to less than half what they were five years ago. The Times has a publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger jnr, who inherited the job from his father by family fiat.
A vacuum of support has emerged for the paper since this story was published. The reason is simple: the accusation implied in the opening paragraph is never supported by the reporting. The only person quoted as saying he warned Iseman, John Weaver, a former McCain aide, says he never told the Times he was concerned about an affair. The story implies otherwise. Weaver rejects this manipulation. He said he told Iseman to stop telling people about the influence she had with McCain’s office.
McCain has said the story is simply not true. So has Iseman. McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, describes the story as “ridiculous”. A senior McCain adviser, Mark Salter, was quoted in the story as saying: “I never had any good reason to think that the relationship was anything other than professional, a friendly professional relationship.”
This key quote is buried in the 58th paragraph of a 66-paragraph story.
The Times never reveals on whose word it is relying. Instead, it says: “The two associates, who said they had become disillusioned with the senator, spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others.” This is mush. All the principal players are saying there was no affair, no perception of an affair, no crisis, and no crisis meeting. All that remains is John Weaver telling Vicki Iseman to stop big-noting herself.
Even though the story is false, it is true that the rumor was out there, and Mr. Plugged In Matt Welchmissed it, according to his good buddy Patterico:
I can tell you the following — I have never, ever, ever, never, ever, ever, ever heard anything about this. And I spent last week in Washington DC, worked in the LAT bureau, went to parties with LAT muckety-mucks, and gossiped with dozens of people who cover presidential politics; none of whom ever so much as mentioned anything about it. Rosenbaum’s single, anonymous source is most certainly wrong, at least about the “everyone knows” part. He also most certainly is wrong that the same “everyone” apparently “doesn’t know what to do with it” — seasoned political journalists are not helpless bystanders in the face of juicy rumors, they are specifically trained to go out and investigate them, and report when relevant.
As for Rosenbaum’s agonizing over “reporting” such a thing, I don’t have much respect for it. Either report or don’t; save us the handwringing about stooping to “Web 2.0″ whateverthehell.
You can quote me on all of that.
As docweaselblog noted at the time:
Whoa, that sounds pretty authoritative. Plus, he’s a rebel.
This is from the class of people who spiked the Monica Lewinsky story, the good old main stream media establishment, so how can we doubt the guy?
His email does make good material for lesbian pulp fiction novel covers though, I have to give him that.
Just as we can’t take just one person’s word that there IS a scandal, we can’t take one guy’s word that there’s nothing to it all, so this exercise with Mr. Welch proves nada.
Well, I enjoy Patterico’s work, but I have to call bullshit on one factoid he related:
He is honest, smart, and plugged in — and he is definitely not part of the stuffy liberal old guard at the paper. (For example, he recently published a great book about John McCain which ridicules the myth that McCain is a straight-talking maverick.)
And, as we rebutted at the time, and are now proven right:
I can hardly believe Patterico is unaware of the fact that now that McCain is running for President, its open season. He’s no longer the press darling he was when he was knocking President Bush and all things Republican.
If anything, that little blurb puts Mr. Matt Welch square in the middle of “stuffy liberal old guard”, running interference for the Democrats and trying to damage Republicans, just like the hip, progressive, young guard media types do.
I really don’t get this entire line, are we to understand that there’s a new wave of young conservative journalists coming in, supplanting the “liberal, old guard” and we’ll see a turn-around in news reporting in the next few years that will make FOX look left-wing?
But it still gives us here at docweaselblog a chance to repost these great photoshops mocking Mr. Honest, Smart, Never Ever Ever Heard of Such a Thing, Plugged in Partying with high Muckety Mucks, !