Monday, February 25, 2008

McCain, the Times, the follow-up

Clark Hoyt, the NY Times's Public Editor, chastised his own paper's staff yesterday. Hoyt notes that despite the efforts of four "highly respected reporters in the Washington bureau", the Times couldn't find any real evidence that John McCain had had an affair with Vickie Iseman. Hoyt says that without that independent evidence the Times should not have suggested that McCain had "an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior". No kidding.

Hoyt also says that "without the sex, The Times was on to a good story". He may be right. I know when I read this article in Saturday's Washington Post I thought, maybe there's something here. Maybe. I don't pay that much attention to the goings on in Washington to know whether (a) McCain's behavior is all that notable and (b) whether this is 'news'. Hoyt, however, helps out again saying "[m]uch of that story has been reported over the years".

So, maybe it was newsworthy, sort of, as a 'reminder' or background piece for voters, but is it front page material? And, if it's that significant, why did the Times endorse McCain for the Republican nomination on January 24? Hoyt doesn't address either of those questions. Despite Hoyt's efforts, the Times still stinks.