This doesn't reflect badly on anyone but the Times, as far as I'm concerned. The innuendo and full-on craptastic nature of the lede alone is enough to damn any actual facts that follow, which are few and far between.
I'm not even going to pull the passage for further circulation, but unnamed sources think there might have been a sex scandal but aren't really sure, which may or may not have been connected to an ethics scandal that they're not even sure existed, the evidence for which all comes from eight years ago, and which naturally warrants dredging up the details of an actual ethics scandal for which McCain was punished and has duly apologized and seen-the-light for incessantly since it happened, ahem, 20 years ago.
And, that's the strongest they've got. They put it right up front. Reverse pyramid, as they call it in the biz.
If I had turned this load of crap into a journalism professor at the University of Georgia, I would have failed the assignment.
Let's check out some of the piece's most ridiculous moments. Weasel Word Alert 1:
But the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.Anytime a reporter tells you that something "underscores" an enduring problem a Republican public official has, he is telling you what he has long thought to be that official's problem, and furthermore that he has longed to tell you about his unique insight, and has just happened upon a flimsy pretense for imbuing you with his great knowledge. Say thanks!
What about an unflattering 20-year-old quote about the old scandal, since we're talking about scandals anyway, huh? Oh, and since the reporter has nothing new or concrete to tell you. Bingo!
“He is essentially an honorable person,” said William P. Cheshire, a friend of Mr. McCain who as editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic defended him during the Keating Five scandal. “But he can be imprudent.”Oh, and then the reporter will rehash the entire old scandal because it's tangentially related to the flimsy allegations he raised in his flimsy lede by virtue of the fact that both stories serve to smear a man with very old mud. I don't think there will be any more to this story. I think this is all they have.
Sleazy, transparent hacks.
Allah and Matt note that the publishing of the piece came under pressure from TNR's crack reportorial staff.
Sleazy, transparent hacks leading the sleazy, transparent hacks, I think they call that.
John, you must have left that protective media halo on the Straight Talk Express. Yikes.