What is the Times thinking?

The only thing more shocking that the New York Times printing salacious innuendo about a presidential candidate is its editor not understanding why this caused controversy. I’m not sure whether he’s isolated or clueless or issuing cynical spin.

I was gobsmacked reading the story when it came out. I didn’t blog on it because Jay Rosen did a great job succinctly dissecting its issues and implications and so I linked to him.

But I was even more astounded reading later that Times Executive Editor Bill Keller is surprised at the reaction to the story. In the paper’s effort to respond to its many, many critics, Keller says they “expected the reaction to be intense” and he tries to dismiss and discredit that reaction as “a time-honored tactic for dealing with potentially damaging news stories” rather as than righteous denial. But then he goes on:

Personally, I was surprised by the volume of the reaction (including more than 2,400 reader comments posted on our Web site). I was surprised by how lopsided the opinion was against our decision, with readers who described themselves as independents and Democrats joining Republicans in defending Mr. McCain from what they saw as a cheap shot.

And, frankly, I was a little surprised by how few readers saw what was, to us, the larger point of the story. Perhaps here, at the outset of this conversation, is a good point to state as clearly as possible our purpose in publishing….

How could he possibly be surprised at the reaction to the Times all but accusing John McCain of having an affair with a lobbyist? How could he credibly be amazed at the reaction to the Times doing this without evidence except for the views of anonymous and admittedly disgruntled former aides saying they were convinced — convinced is the word the Times used — of an affair without them giving evidence? Can the editor of the Times possibly be this blind to the implications of what the paper did?

But Keller tries to tell us that we’re concentrating on the wrong thing here, that we don’t see what the real story is. He says it’s a narrative about McCain’s life. Keller’s deputy, Jill Abramson, also lectures us about missing their point:

Documents are always useful in reporting, but they are not required. The Times story was not about a romantic relationship. It was about a senator who had been embroiled in scandal, then rebuilt his career as a reformer and concern among his aides that his relationship with Ms. Iseman was putting that career at risk.

Do they have no news judgment? The lede in this story was obvious to everyone but the Times:

Paper of record hints that Republican presidential candidate has affair with lobbyist with no evidence other than statements attributed to anonymous sources, who the papers admits are disgruntled former associates of the candidate.

That is the lede. That is the story. That the editors of the Times don’t see that is incredible — that is to say, not credible. They can’t be that clueless, can they? They can’t be that bad at understanding news and politics, public opinion and media, surely. So are they merely trying to spin us? Are they embarrassed at what they did? Are they trying to convince themselves as well as us that this sex story — the sort of thing these high-fallutin’ journalists would usually insist is the stuff of Drudge and blogs and tabloids — is just an illustration in their bigger point about the life and times of John McCain? Surely, they can’t thing we’re that dumb. Surely, they’re not that dumb.

That’s what throws me about this story. I can’t figure out what these Timesmen are thinking.

In any case, there can be no doubt that the Times doesn’t just cover the story, it is part of the story. Its coverage of not only McCain but also of Clinton (whom the editorial page and publisher may have endorsed but whom the newsroom clearly can’t abide) is material to the story itself. So we deserve to know more about how the Times is covering the campaign. We need to know what they’re thinking.

: LATER: In Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt’s appraisal of the metascandal, Keller once again tries to tell us what the story is when what he really has done is tell us what the story isn’t. Keller:

If the point of the story was to allege that McCain had an affair with a lobbyist, we’d have owed readers more compelling evidence than the conviction of senior staff members. But that was not the point of the story. The point of the story was that he behaved in such a way that his close aides felt the relationship constituted reckless behavior and feared it would ruin his career.

Hoyt:

The article was notable for what it did not say: It did not say what convinced the advisers that there was a romance. It did not make clear what McCain was admitting when he acknowledged behaving inappropriately — an affair or just an association with a lobbyist that could look bad. And it did not say whether Weaver, the only on-the-record source, believed there was a romance. The Times did not offer independent proof, like the text messages between Detroit’s mayor and a female aide that The Detroit Free Press disclosed recently, or the photograph of Donna Rice sitting on Gary Hart’s lap….

A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than what most of them did. And if a newspaper is going to suggest an improper sexual affair, whether editors think that is the central point or not, it owes readers more proof than The Times was able to provide.

The real elephant in the room: This was bad journalism.

: LATER: JigSaw sees some silver in the cloud over the Times (I’m rush, so please follow the link for more links):

I think some the impact of the Siegal Reports can be clearly seen here.

* When, in the history of the NYT, has it been held publicly accountable by thousands of readers using its own publishing tool (web site)?

* When, in the history of the NYT, has its editors and journalists engaged their readers in near-real-time two-way conversation?

* When, in the history of the NYT, could any interested reader engage its editors and journalists authoritatively using the NYT’s own publicly available Reader’s Guide, Confidential News Sources Policy, internal memos (Assuring Our Credibility) and accounts of their internal debates (More Flexibility and Reality in Explaining Anonymity)?

* When, in the history of the NYT, was there a NYT insider who would publicly tell its readers that the Executive Editor got it wrong?

The NYT should be embarrassed by the McCain story, but take pride in their public engagement.

  • Mike Snider

    Jeff, you’ve got it absolutely right!
    What I attribute the NYT’s behavior to (in this instance, the Jayson Blair debacle, and all the others) is the absolute arrogance that they must live and breathe every day as “the Paper of Record”. They tell themselves: “we can’t make mistakes”…which becomes “we don’t make mistakes”…which, when confronted with the proof of their mistakes, turns into pathological cognitive dissonance — like HAL, the computer in the film “2001” — where it’s better to destroy those who know you made a mistake than even think of admitting to it.

  • http://shakeypete.blogspot.com Peter

    Um, Jeff, you forgot to mention that the Times was sitting on the story when they endorsed him.
    We are soon to be inundated with stories of McCain cursing people out, his legendary temper, his age and ailments and his ethical trangressions.
    The NYT and other press has deliberatly propped up McCain because they had all this, they will now make sure to do all they can to defeat him.

  • http://bobbiejohnson.org Bobbie

    It was a weak story full of insinuation and innuendo, badly presented when it didn’t have to be. Of course it would be very interesting to find out why it got sat on (lawyers, political pressure, bad judgement, lack of evidence?), but regardless of that situation, the simple fact is that the end product didn’t stand up.

    The worrying thing, I suppose, is if Keller and the other staff really believe what they’re saying. Here’s an idea: you write the story you’ve got, rather than imply the story you wish you could publish. Surely that’s not hard to understand.

  • Enigmaticore

    “Surely, they can’t thing we’re that dumb”

    Jeff, I think this is the part that really stands to be considered. The evidence suggests strongly that, yes, they do think that we’re that dumb.

  • http://chizumatic.mee.nu/ Steven Den Beste

    I think that the powers-that-be at the Times haven’t waked up to the fact that they’ve squandered their credibility and influence. What I think is that they fully expected people to say, “My God! The Times says this, so it must be true, because the Times is always right!”

    It’s been quite a while since many people have thought in those terms, of course. But if you look at it, this isn’t the only delusion that the management of the Times seems to be laboring under. Their business is collapsing around their ears, too, because they refuse to accept that their current business model is becoming obsolete.

  • Chris

    I vote: “Yes, they are that dumb.”

  • rbcason

    Den Beste nails it. Just how clueless is the leadership of the venerable New York Times?

  • http://lbsrambles.typepad.com Les Blatt

    Unfortunately, the Times has been on a downward course since about the time Pinch Sulzberger took over as publisher. Howell Raines and Bill Keller have done little to advance or even protect the paper’s reputation. There are still a number of good reporters, but I tend to read the Times these days (primarily online, for that matter) with a very jaundiced eye. Just as I read the New York Sun or Washington Times knowing there is a pronounced tilt to the right, so the New York Times reveals its pronounced tilt in the opposite direction – yet seems unable to recognize it, let alone acknowledge it.

  • SteveMG

    My guess based on an anonymous source (okay, it’s me) thinks that the reporters pushed Keller into running it.

    That and the report that the New Republic was going to run a story on the internecine (love that word) fight pushed Keller over the precipice.

    Pushy New Yorkers.

  • http://thefatguy.com/ Scott

    What’s this you say? The Times is arrogant? The Times is disengaged? The Times is utilizing deceitful innuendo to advance an agenda and denying it all along? My world, it is shaken to it’s core.

    No, no, folks…the real question is how many times we’re going to have this particular conversation. Well, how many times yall are going to have it.

  • bobby b

    “What I think is that they fully expected people to say, “My God! The Times says this, so it must be true, because the Times is always right!””

    But, amongst the more rabid of my left-leaning friends, that’s exactly what they DID say.

    Could be they’re just no longer even keeping up the pretense that they’re speaking to us too.

  • http://yargb.blogspot.com Barry Dauphin

    NY Times editor blames readers for the paper’s bad writing. Yikes. And they had the story for months. Imagine how badly they write when working on a deadline.

  • NotWoodward

    Or:
    (1) The Times used the allegations against McCain to force him to release documents disproving those charges. If he didn’t respond by releasing material, that would look damaging. If he releases information, they have new material to look into. And they can request more data.

    (2) The extra benefit is that the sex angle draws attention to future stories. Nice hook to an otherwise boring series about internal FCC regulations and licensing.

    Nasty business.

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  • Dean

    Jeff – I agree with everything you wrote, but please consider whether you too are living in your own rarified bubble of intelligent, rational people who actually read and understood what The Times published. On Thursday night, I was in a restaurant; a man in the next booth told his wife that McCain was caught cheating on his wife. The woman expressed surprise, but the man said “Nope, Time Magazine’s got the goods on him”.

    There’s plenty of people out there who aren’t paying much attention. The NY Times may be shocked how much mud splashed back on them, but plenty stuck, too.

  • noone (No One)

    What do your mean by “lede?” I can’t find that word in my Webster’s! Don’t you use a spell checker? Didn’t you mean “lead,” as in “Lead Story”? You must have attended the GWB middle school.

  • http://canthook.com Paul Ding

    There seems to be a pretty deep division in this country as to whether sexual misconduct is outrageous and newsworthy or as ho-hum as a parking ticket.

    If McCain was screwing the lobbyist – and I don’t think he was – it’s no big deal, as far as I am concerned. What I’m worried about is whether he is screwing the taxpayers.

    It is quite possible that a man can be smitten with another woman, and yet keep his pants zipped. I know; I’ve done it. And it’s part of a Senator’s job to lean on government agencies on behalf of constituents, when the agency isn’t doing what it’s supposed to be doing.

    But the lobbyist wasn’t from Arizona, nor is Paxson Communications. Why weren’t they asking their one of their *own* Senators to lean on the agency to do their job?

    The story is not that McCain might have been getting laid, but that his staff didn’t trust him. Seems like either the Senator needs to replace his staff, or the voters need to replace the Senator.

  • NotWoodward

    “What do your mean by “lede?”
    You must have attended the GWB middle school.”

    Well, smart guy, you hit your head on the door as you left.

    It’s both “lead” or “lede”. Either spelling is used.

  • Siergen

    noone, I’ve been confused by that myself. I think it’s an internal publishing term that has been leaking into the open. Try this link to Dictionary.com (assuming that links workon this board): http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lede

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  • NotWoodward

    “Lede” is the spelling used by reporters.

    Also “30” at the bottom of a story to indicate it’s end. It’s believed that that originated during the Civil War when reporters were limited to 30 words at a time that would be transmitted over military telegraph lines.

  • Greg Toombs

    Jeff-

    Shocking to you, perhaps, but not to me, sadly. I gave up mourning the NT Times 15 years ago, having idealized them the same way I idealized my uncle, once a field producer for NBC news. He passed before I got the chance to discuss with him my growing irritation at the rampant, and obvious, bias against anything conservative or Republican.

    Cancel my NT Times subscription. Doh! Did that 15 years ago.

    Good for my psyche, less recycling hassle every 2 weeks and a smaller carbon footprint to boot.

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  • Harry Eagar

    I’ve been a reporter for 43 years, and I wouldn’t have submitted that story, and if I had, no editor (other than, it appears, Keller) would have accepted it.

    The Times needs to bring in some grownups.

  • Dennis D

    I can bet if that Sinclair character making the Obama accusations instead claimed he gave Bush a BJ and shared drugs with him the NY Times would have flown Sinclair into NYC by now. Or 60 Minutes would have him on this week

  • JorgXMcKie

    “Why weren’t they asking their one of their *own* Senators to lean on the agency to do their job?”

    I dunno, maybe because none of their *own* Senators was on the right committee? See, there’s this thing called an ‘Iron Triangle’ in which committe members, service recipients (or those regulated), and the appropriate agency work together for the benefit of each, as opposed to the benefit of the greater public. It’s a very widespread idea. You might want to educate yourself on it.

  • http://ken-carroll.com/ Ken Carroll

    This looks like another clumsy, Dan Ratherish attempt to influence an election through unethical means. Every couple of months the NYT is embroiled in another scandal, yet somehow it doesnt’ stop the buffoonery. They could easily get away with the blatant bias by taking certain precautions, but meglomania and stupidity of this level are simply untenable during an age when the very existence of newspapers is in question. Bill and Pinch are the Clown Princes of the ancienne newpaper regime – clueless, witless, and and hammering the nails in its coffin. Bring on the citizen journalists.

  • Mike G in Corvallis

    “The real elephant in the room: This was bad journalism.”

    Um … It isn’t an elephant. It’s a donkey. And Bill Keller is fellating it.

  • elizabeth

    I think the reporters got to Pinch and Pinch “made” Bill Keller print it.

  • charley

    What sort of “proof” were you looking for, Jeff? Used condoms and a DNA test?

  • http://www.yargb.blogspot.com vnjagvet

    Yellow journalism is so 19th Century and turn of the 20th. I guess the NYT still thinks it can trade credibility for “sizzle” and circulation. Pulitzer and Hearst would be proud, because they used that tactic to good advantage with the great unwashed of yore.

    The blogosphere makes that tactic tough, but unfortunately, for the Times, they have already lost their credibility and their circulation is losing altitude like Sen.Clinton’s BroomStick One.

  • roger rainey

    1. Based on ancillary sources, Keller delayed this story and tried, unsuccessfully, to spike it. He couldn’t prevail against some of his top reporters, and caved. For this glaring management incompetence, he’s got to to go. The Times would demand nothing less of any other institution.

    2. Thank God I am not a shareholder of this organization. The one, the only, single valuable asset the NYT company has is the integrity of the New York Times brand. Once this is lost, and it is mostly gone, the shortedsighted Timesfolk will realize what they squandered; there will be no getting it back. It took decades, generations, to build up. This is corporate waste of the first degree. For this, the board MUST put a real manager in place of Pinch.

    3. The reporters at the Times need to get over themselves. They are reporters, not rock stars, not “talent”. That their narcisism could have driven the paper to this depth is astonishing. See 2. above. The paper’s value is in its credibility, its authoritative voice. Reporters are a dime a dozen. They need to realize this. How dysfunctional that place must be and hopefully now they realize it is not a beneficient collection of “personalities”.

    4. Corrective action is required, and required NOW. The paper needs to re-establish its bona fides and rise above this partisan fray that it and, to a ridiculous extent, its editorial board has sunk into. Unfortunately, for the current players, this cannot be accomplished without a thorough house-cleaning. Although it has been pooh-poohed into a cliche, the best way to accomplish a neutral presentation is to balance the liberals with conservatives. Checks and balances, a concept the Times has championed many times, works for the federal government; it should work for the NYT. Save what’s left.

  • Al From Chicago

    It’s not that they (as in the NYT’s Editors) are dumb, it’s that most of them are Modern Liberals. Watch this video by Evan Sayet (a former writer for Bill Maher) explain Modern Liberals:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaE98w1KZ-c

    I’ve watched parts of it many times and it’s very good. Evan’s theory explains a lot about these people – the theory will grow on you over time. You’ll need some quiet time and make sure you see the Q&A at the end.

  • http://gregransom.com/prestopundit PrestoPundit

    “They can’t be that clueless, can they?”

    Let’s be honest. Most journalists are mediocrities. They aren’t that smart. They come from a narrow slice of the world, and pursue their biases more frequently than the truth.

    And one could go on.

    It’s time we stop giving journalists some exaggerated benefit of the doubt when all evidence points to arrogance, stupidity, bias, lack of ethics, etc.

    These aren’t outstanding people we’re dealing with. Time to stop pretending that they are.

  • Richard Cook

    The “Grey Lady” has long since morphed into the “Senile Old *itch”.

  • Dan Friedman

    Why the surprise? They’ve been doing this forever. Just carrying on in the grand tradition of Walter Duranty and their little page 12 items on Auschwitz. Really, the only shocking thing about The Times is that they can find so many lizards who can type.

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  • Bill Webster

    Like the little boy who cried “wolf”. the NYT sought attention. It’s used this sort of tactic countless times to good effect. Finally, their story was so transparently bogus that even many groundlings couldn’t stomach it. Now, like the little boy, few people will believe them on other McCain damaging stories. BTW, whatever happened to that little boy? I hear the death spiral into bankruptcy can be a real bitch.

  • http://mindymcadams.com/tojou/ Mindy McAdams

    You are absolutely right on this, Jeff. There is one clear issue (as well as other, lesser issues), and that is the lack of named sources in the story.

    I have to assume the NYT editors believed this was a Deep Throat-like case, where they felt sure their sources are reliable and honest.

    But it’s a reputation story, not one about national security, and the public is right to demand the sources’ names. If no source will make this claim and attach his or her name to it, then the story shouldn’t be published by a reputable journalism organization.

    The reasons why are crystal clear to the public.

    Why are they not clear to the NYT editors?

  • stonetools

    Lets do a counter factual here. Imagine if the NYT had spiked the story and TNR had published. You would hear a lot of talk about how the NYT had suppressed a story damaging to a candidate it endorsed. I imagine that JJ and many others would get on their high horse and demand that the NYT publish the story. So the Times is kind of damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t.
    that said, the N\YT should have led with the lobbyist stuff and buried the possible romance at the bottom. That would not satisfy those who would wanted the romance angle expunged entirely, but the majority of folks would have deemed that acceptable.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Stonetools:
    Which story is that? The story the Times thinks it is — McCain and lobbyists, a story they could and would have done in any case — or the story that the rest of us think it is — the undocumented and unproven sexual accusation, which they didn’t need to do unless they had it reported and proven. So let’s say that TNR said they didn’t report the latter. The answer to that is simple and quite journalistic: ‘We didn’t prove the story to our satisfaction.’ That’s always an acceptable answer.

  • John

    While I agree with everyone’s assesment of the Times running an innuendo piece, we all need to be careful in our high dudgeon.

    The sources for this story obviously wanted to hurt McCain anonymously. Having had their credibility questioned, they could simply decide to come on the record and trot out who-knows-what kind of evidence.

    Does anyone actually believe McCain is incapable of infidelity or lobbyist pandering?

  • kat

    Well, then they should have held on to the story till those anonymous sources were willing to become non-anonymous–which they obviously weren’t. Maybe they could’ve found a soiled blue dress or something.

  • http://johnstodderinexile.wordpress.com John S.

    >>Does anyone actually believe McCain is incapable of infidelity or lobbyist pandering?<<

    John,
    I think there’s an opening at the New York Times for you! You think just like they do. Ethically, it’s okay to publish a weakly-sourced story full of innuendo and sensationalism because they just, like, _know_ if this didn’t happen, something just like it must have happened. Therefore, the reporters are convinced they didn’t do anything wrong.

    Let’s see if they apply the same logic to the other candidates. Barack Obama? Pretty liberal. One of his supporters has a Che Guevera banner. “Does anyone actually believe he hasn’t sold secrets to the Chinese Communists?” Hillary Clinton? Ruthlessly ambitious. “Does anyone actually believe she’s not capable of murdering Vince Foster?” In both scenarios, the evidence is equally strong as the evidence of McCain’s affair.

  • John

    John S,

    Don’t be retarded. Firstly, I said I agreed the Times should not have run an unsourced story based on innuendo.

    Secondly, I didn’t say he was guilty, I said if someone could be bothered to smear him off the record, they could just as easily decide to smear him *on* the record with corroborating witnesses, phone bills, credit card receipts, snapshots, etc etc. And then all your oh-so-certain righteous indignation will make you look the fool you could very well be.

    Or maybe it won’t happen. That’s the point. You don’t know, so don’t act like you do.

  • chico haas

    Good piece, Mr. Jarvis. For the near future, the Paper of Record will have to fight McCain with one hand tied behind Keller’s back.

  • http://simoncast.blogspot.com Simon Cast

    Jeff,

    You might like this piece by Paul Sheehan of the Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/times-back-making-up-the-news/2008/02/24/1203788142795.html

    Regards,

    Simon

  • Lunatic

    So, the Time’s defense is that it wasn’t a blatant hit piece, but rather that it was so badly-written and -edited that their readers couldn’t comprehend its point.

    I’m cool with that, because that means that the people responsible for it should be fired for embarrassing the Times with an incompetently-produced article.

  • http://johnstodderinexile.wordpress.com John S.

    But John, what these anonymous sources revealed anonymously to the Times were not facts, but their own opinions and feelings. It is illogical to presume that they had facts available but withheld them. They were already protected by anonymity. They had carte blanche to dish all the dirt they had. Apparently, what they had was innuendo, and it’s quite possible they had even less. “I remember being worried” isn’t a lot to base a story like this on.

    The Times’ reporters decided arbitrarily to believe people who had nothing to corroborate a juicy, game-changing story. Your point seems to be if there’s smoke, there must be fire. Not always true, especially in an adversarial situation like a presidential race. Reporters are fools if they don’t assume anyone who drops a dime on a candidate has a relevant motive.

  • Rick

    “noone”, if it wasn’t for the fact that you really don’t know what a lede is, your “GWB middle school” crack would be brilliant satire. Your misunderstimation of Mr. Jarvis is still funny, of course- but more like a guy stepping on a rake. Try some humility before disparaging someone more knowledgable than you are.

    The intro to a story is always spelled “lede” in journalism. A “lead” is a lead story, as in “what are we leading with?” A good example of why my father, who just retired as an editor after five decades in the business, never used a spell-checker. There is no substitute for knowledge.

  • charley

    I’m serious, Jeff. What “proof” would you need for the NYT to have run that story? If not a used condom and DNA tests, would it be affadavits from all parties? Videotapes? Or, given that you carry water for the Republicans, a Drudge item?

  • tobe

    Let’s get the lead right. It’s all about anonymous sources. The MSM has relied on anonymous sources for years, and years and years……. Sometimes this is an essential function of the 4th Estate. The public’s right to know. More often it is part of the MSM attack machine operating as the handmaidens of various political special interests.

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  • http://www.patthorntonfiles.com Pat Thornton

    Charley,

    You are so off the reservation you have no idea what you are talking about. I hope to God you are not a journalist. What the Times did is not acceptable journalism.

    Jeff — and every other sane American — would have at least liked the Times to use sources on the record. Anyone can imply anything off the record. The sources for this story weren’t willing to even go on the record about something rather minor. It’s not like they were leaking the Pentagon Papers.

    So, we have no evidence other then some disgruntled former McCain staffers saying they “feared” his relationship might have turned romantic.

    That’s not journalism. That’s why the super market tabloids do.

    And if you knew Jeff better, you’d know he is a big Hillary Clinton supporter. But I guess everyone who has problems with the Times must be a republican. Right?

    Of course even The New York Times public editor finds the article troubling: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/24/opinion/24pubed.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    If you’re going to criticize someone, “Charley” at least leave your e-mail like a real man or woman would.

  • http://blowingintheether.blogspot.com/ LCaution

    Of course, the editor doesn’t understand. This is the paper that produced and justified a novella-sized report on the Clinton marriage in 2006…to relatively little criticism, as I recall.

    And, if proof were needed that the editors are incapable of learning from experience, they went right along with Bush’s “Iran is about to nuke us” in spite of their being burned, to put it mildly, on Iraq.

    I fear that the NYT, like CNN, believes its own publicity.

  • Charley

    Jarvis’s silence is deafening. He must be all tuckered out from carrying all that water for the Republicans. Like them, he must be afraid to answer a simple question until he gets a phone call from Karl Rove telling him what to say.

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  • Charley

    Jarvis is obviously auditioning for a slot on Fox News. Notice that, like other wingnuts, he’s all over the New York Times, but says nothing about CNN’s slander against Obama’s patriotism, or its and other media republication (if the pun fits, wear it) of Drudge’s charges against both Obama and Clinton.

    Nope, he won’t say anything about that, because none of it fits his right-wing agenda. Nor will he bother to specify the “proof” required to report the McCain story. Jeff Jarvis is above questions. Yeah, I’m sure we’ll be seeing him on Murdoch TV any day now.

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  • kat

    Charley, if your head wasn’t so far up some democrat’s ass, you’d know Jeff is a Clinton supporter and is only saying what is very damned obvious to anyone who doesn’t choose to be blinded by burying his head. If you think CNN is pro Republican you are nuttier than a fruitcake.
    There can’t be proof to a lie–you can’t prove a lie is truth.

  • Jeff Fox

    How about this theory: In today’s sensation-driven media, an important, but wonky, story about McCain’s hypocritical service to lobbyists would have passed virtually without notice in one news cycle if not spiced up with the attention-grabbing sex angle.

    The accusation of the affair, which is ultimately no more than media candy, is the vector on which the bulk of the story hopes to piggyback and prompt future media investigations of his unethical behavior via a via lobbyists. Media candy is now the freight journalists must pay to deliver otherwise dry payloads of important stuff to a brain-dead media.

  • Charley

    It’s “nuttier than a fruitcake” to think that CNN is pro-Republican? They run a push-poll asking whether Obama is unpatriotic; they have Glenn Beck on every night; Wolf Blitzer might have well have “Likud/Mossad” stamped on his forehead; Lou Dobbs makes William Jenning Bryan look like a liberal.

    Yeah, I’d say CNN is in bed with the wingnuts and the neocons in a major way. Whatever the White House or the Israelis tell them to say, CNN says it. Nary a peep out of Jarvis, who slams the NYT and sucks up to Murdock, and too cowardly to answer a simple question about the standard of “proof” needed for the media to report a sex scandal.

    Look for Jarvis to be a Fox News regular soon enough. Or, who knows, maybe CNN, which isn’t a whole lot different.

  • kat

    Yeah, Lou Dobbs just loves Bush and company–what the hell are you smoking when you watch CNN. Give it a rest and clear your head and the hallucinations may pass.
    Well, why won’t Obama wear a lapel pin or hold his hand over his heart during the anthem? He has no problem wearing muslim garb so what’s wrong with the US flag or its anthem? CNN can’t run fast enough to try dispell the story Obama attended a madrasa or run a poll they hope leftist viewers will answer with “yes, Obama is patriotic” . Their propaganda doesn’t work with me. I am not a Hillary fan, but CNN is a lot tougher on her and handles Obama with velvet gloves–it’s sickening to watch them swoon over him.

  • Charley

    Isn’t that great? Your president — the one who lied his way into a trillion-dollar war — wears a flag in his lapel, and that’s how you judge “patriotism.” What a joke. In any case, your Republican surrogate Jarvis is too much of a coward to answer a simple question. Like I say, he’s angling for a slot on Faux News or in some other Murdoch outlet. At this rate, he’ll get it.

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