Saturday, February 23, 2008

NYT McCain Story: Keller & The Scarlet Elephant

"....what the aides believed might not have been the real truth. And if you cannot provide readers with some independent evidence, I think it is wrong to report the suppositions or concerns of anonymous aides about whether the boss is getting into the wrong bed."

- Clark Hoyt, NYT Public Editor


NYT Public Editor Clark Hoyt writes in tomorrow's NYT:
"BILL KELLER, the executive editor of The Times, said the article about John McCain that appeared in Thursday’s paper was about a man nearly felled by scandal who rebuilt himself as a fighter against corruption but is still “careless about appearances, careless about his reputation, and that’s a pretty important thing to know about somebody who wants to be president of the United States.”

"...judging by the explosive reaction to the 3,000-word article, most readers saw it as something else altogether. They saw it as a story about illicit sex. And most were furious at The Times."

Mr. Clark claims that the article was notable for what it didn't say:
It did not say what convinced the advisers that there was a romance."
Mr. Clark says that the ignored scarlet elephant in the room is that a newspaper can't "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."


Seen at Tom Watson's blog:
For making the front page his national newspaper the equivalent of the men's room wall, Times editor Bill Keller is justly eviscerated in tomorrow's edition by Public Editor Clark Hoyt.

UPDATE: More from Jarvis, The New Republic, TalkLeft, and a series of questions for Times editors from Jay Rosen.


I guess I'd been expecting commentary like this from the Times' Public Editor [unless, of course, there was more to the story than what we'd been told]. Since I'd read it, I'd felt that the story was too much of this..

and not enough of ... well...that is to say.. not at all what I'd expect from the New York Times...and I'm not even a Republican.