The Talking Dog

February 20, 2008, A question of ethics?

The Unseen Editor sends along this Grey Lady hit-piece on Republican Presidential nominee (if we can't say it now... then when?) Sen. John McCain, weaving in vague and unproven allegations of improprieties (including not so vague innuendo of a possible romantic relationship between the now 71 year old Sen. McCain and 40 year old telecom lobbyist Vicki Iseman). Supposedly, as he did with the Keating Five scandal in the 80's, it seems McCain used his clout to try to lobby regulators for the benefit of some of Ms. Iseman's clients.

One can draw their own conclusions as to what this says about McCain's ethics. People of good will and decent sense should be far, far more troubled about his sudden expedient reversal on the one issue for which his integrity is supposedly sacrosanct, that being his opposition to mistreatment of prisoners of war because he himself was famously mistreated as a prisoner of war... opposition he has abruptly abandoned to secure the GOP nomination (causing Bruce the Veep to quip that when McCain sells out, he does so on an Olympian scale!) To my view... the Times story seems small beer, thin gruel, etc.... especially when measured against McCain's actual sell-out on his supposed strong-suit (which a smart opponent will read as a self Swift-boating... that, and show this picture a lot!) Who knows? Maybe, as TNR suspects, there is a huge story brewing which may finish off McCain's presidential aspirations the way... pretty much everything finished off Rudy Giuliani's... Or not.

The other question concerns the Grey Lady itself, which, while it may be blowing up a minor story out of proportion, or may be working on something huge (no way to tell, just yet) has still not ever come close to atoning for its own complicity in war crimes (see Miller, Judith, for example) and its own role in advancing the irrational run-up to the Iraq war in 2003... for reasons still unstated. A huge issue was made about the timing of the release of this story last December, supposedly so as not to damage McCain's candidacy... of course, now that he's the nominee... it's an o.k. time, I suppose!

I just note that, Judith Miller (and that other bastion of journalistic integrity, Michael R. Gordon) merrily trotted out thinly (or non-existently) sourced stories that emerged from Karl Rove's fax machine about Iraqi WMDs and other non-existent threats, utterly unvetted by the mighty Times... even though the consequences literally were a matter of war and peace... and yet TD friend (it's always about me, remember?) Andy Worthington [Andy is interviewed here] warranted a front-page "disclaimer" by the Times for his having "an opinion"... that "opinion" being that Guantanamo is a cruel and misguided policy! See also... here.

And so... we come to the latest "reporting" on Sen. McCain's supposed "ethical lapses". I don't know... cliches one thinks of... glass houses? casting the first stone? Who knows? Maybe having the Times do hit pieces on him is just the thing McCain needs to improve his troubled relationship with Rush and Ann...