New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt agrees. The paper just didn’t have enough to run the John McCain story last week.
In his weekly column, Hoyt wrote, “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.”
Hoyt joins a chorus of voice roundly condemning the Times, including Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz who wrote:
“I am ashamed for my profession,” Max Frankel, then the paper’s editor, said afterward. “We don’t want to report on the candidates’ sex lives.”
Last week, when the Times quoted unnamed former associates of John McCain as saying they believed, in 1999, that he had an extramarital relationship with Washington lobbyist Vicki Iseman, a huge controversy erupted. This time, though, it was the Times that was harshly criticized.
[Continue reading Charges Can Bounce Both Ways]
While most media critics scoff at conservative assertions that the article’s release was held until after he had essentially secured the nomination, in order to maximize the damage to Republican party — CNN special correspondent Frank Sesno called the charges “absolutely preposterous” — that has not stopped conservatives from going after the newspaper.
Talk show host Sean Hannity told the Times the article was “the most despicable act of liberal bias that I have seen in my life.” Conservative backlash to the article has caused a bump in the McCain fundraising and rallied conservatives, who had previously turned a cold shoulder to the candidate, said the Times.