Why Did The Times Publish This Funny Story About John McCain’s Sex Affairs?

Last night, the New Republic teased that they were working on a story about those crippling newsroom politics at the New York Times surrounding the John McCain sex corruption story. The insidery tale is up on TNR’s website now, and it has launched a massive journalism nerd flock to read the details. When did executive editor Bill Keller talk to John McCain, and did McCain solicit corrupt lobbyist sex with him too? How do the paper’s Washington and New York bureaus resolve their competing agendas? Does David Brooks look as stupid in person? All is revealed!

TNR’s Gabriel Sherman writes the behind-the-scenes account, and uses this prime real estate to, uh, give his opinion on the horrific Times story in a long second paragraph:

Beyond its revelations, however, what’s most remarkable about the article is that it appeared in the paper at all: the new information it reveals focuses on the private matters of the candidate, and relies entirely on the anecdotal evidence of McCain’s former staffers to justify the piece–both personal and anecdotal elements unusual in the Gray Lady. The story is filled with awkward journalistic moves–the piece contains a collection of decade-old stories of McCain and Iseman appearing at functions together and concerns voiced by McCain’s aides that the Senator shouldn’t be seen in public with Iseman – and departs from the Times usual authoritative voice. At one point, the piece suggestively states: “In 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, ‘Why is she always around?’” In the absence of concrete, printable proof that McCain and Iseman were an item, the piece delicately steps around purported romance and instead reports on the debate within the McCain campaign about the alleged affair.

Jeez, did the Times reject this Sherman guy from a job or two in the past?

The rest of the piece offers these ranging facts about the sex corruption lobbyist affair story:

* After the Times got a tip, they assigned four experienced Journalistic Reporters to work the story. These four obviously aren’t that good, since all they found was, “Yeah, McCain was seen on earth a few times in the vicinity of a lobbyist whore.” But sex sells, and the New York Times has had issues with the whole “selling” concept in recent years.
* Keller had canned the story in December because the sex rumors weren’t concrete enough, and all of his reporters and sub-editors hated him. The two bitchiest ones quit.
* Keller suddenly realized that this piece was worthy, and published it. Hooray!

This is all nice, but let’s get to the important issues that have yet to be discussed:

* In the last half-hour, precisely how many sexy lobbyist whores has John McCain had sex with?
* Why does John McCain always cheat on his wife and then steal corrupt money?
* When John McCain is screwing sexy lobbyist whores, does he shout “MY FRIEND” like a moron?
* Is John McCain seeking the presidency just so he can have sex with sexy lobbyist whores while president?
* Has John McCain, even for a second of his life, ever not been fucking sexy lobbyist whores?
* Most importantly: Why does Barack Obama allow politicians to have affairs with sexy lobbyist whores?

The Long Run-Up [The New Republic]

About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell
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