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NYT Defends That Stupid John McCain Sexy Lobbyist Whore Story

No, the other stupid articleAfter months of careful edits, cooperation with the McCain campaign, professional insights of several world-class reporters and editors, the New York Times printed one of the worst, most inadvertently hilarious stories Thursday about John McCain: how he screws sexy lobbyist whores and then steals everyone's corrupt money. This story was such crap -- structurally, thematically, content-wise -- that it made Rush Limbaugh defend John McCain and unite the right (the right!). Today, the Times is trying to save its few remaining subscriptions by taking questions online. Executive editor Bill Keller responded in length to the first one, and hopefully he will be fired soon.


The big question for Keller came from a "Brian Mullaney":

Q. I must say that the McCain article left me embarrassed for your paper. So little substance, but trumpeted prominently as though you somehow had the goods on him or were raising burning questions. It makes it look like your reporters or editors had an ax to grind. I hope they didn't. Question: Do you read the coverage of your coverage? Did you see the piece at slate.com ridiculing your paper for this? Doesn't it smart?

Ha ha, does it burn you silly sally? Does it sting when the Slate webzine sends the "lynch mob" your way??

Keller goes into this long rant about how they expected a strong reaction, but who knew people would twirl their panties into this kind of a bundle? People don't recognize the true story behind the story:

The point of this "Long Run" installment was that, according to people who know him well, this man who prizes his honor above all things and who appreciates the importance of appearances also has a history of being sometimes careless about the appearance of impropriety, about his reputation. The story cites several examples, and quotes friends and admirers talking of this apparent contradiction in his character. That is why some members of his staff were so alarmed by the appearance of his relationship with Ms. Iseman. And that, it seemed (and still seems) to us, was something our readers would want to know about a man who aspires to be president.

Yeah well, it's shut up time now. Most of this dumb story was a rehash of the Keating Five scandal, followed by various other very minor, questionable "conflicts of interest" that McCain found himself entangled in because he is a very busy politician, and old. This makes for a boring story, but still something of a legitimate "refresher" story that everyone can soon forget.

But as every undergraduate journalism professor in the country has probably noted already, the lede of the story suggested he might have had an affair. Instead of following up on this lede, which is how you write a Journalistic Article, the writers quoted two anonymous ex-employees who said he may have hit the sexy lobbyist whore. Because he was around this woman at various times, does that mean he's not looking out for his honorable reputation?

Or can the Times not just flat out say it: This old coot has dementia of the brain and has no idea where he is, or what he's doing. That we could all agree on.

The McCain Article [NYT]

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