Amanda Carpenter

The New York Times has accused GOP presidential candidate John McCain of having an affair, unethically helping an Arizona developer, distorting his rival’s healthcare plans and hiding financial and medical information from the public, and the McCain campaign has had enough.

After the Times published yet another critical editorial of McCain on Sunday, the campaign is hitting back. Mark Salter, who authored five books with McCain and serves as a strategist to his presidential campaign, said the editorial was “absurd” and “should the New York Times ever show it possesses half of John McCain's sense of civic responsibility, it might begin to repair its deservedly tarnished reputation.”

The Times received a torrent of negative news coverage after alleging McCain had an illicit, romantic relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman in a news story that relied heavily on unnamed sources last February. But subsequent anti-McCain articles, some written by the same reporters who penned the McCain-Iseman piece, haven’t been as widely panned.

On April 22, David D. Kirkpatrick and Jim Rutenberg reported McCain did favors for an Arizona-based wealthy real estate developer, Donald Diamond, who contributed heavily to his campaign. Kirkpatrick and Rutenberg were also lead reporters on the McCain-Iseman story.

Kirkpatrick and Rutenberg took issue with McCain’s willingness to write letters to the Department of Interior to request the government purchase land from Diamond in order to expand the Sanguaro National Monument and to speed the land sale of a closed Army base Diamond wished to purchase.

McCain’s press secretary Jill Hazelbaker said the senator “had done nothing for Mr. Diamond that he would not do for any other citizen,” but the reporters sensed scandal. “For Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican who has staked two presidential campaigns on pledges to avoid even the appearance of dispensing an official favor for a donor, Mr. Diamond is the kind of friend who can pose a test,” the reporters wrote. Their story did not mention the various environmental groups who endorsed the monument expansion and buried details about how two other members of the Arizona congressional delegation supported the Army base sale deep in the story.

Amanda Carpenter

Amanda Carpenter is the author of “The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy's Dossier on Hillary Clinton,” published in October 2006.
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