From TNR’s Gabriel Sherman:
What happened? The publication of the article capped three months of intense internal deliberations at the Times over whether to publish the negative piece and its most explosive charge about the affair. It pitted the reporters investigating the story, who believed they had nailed it, against executive editor Bill Keller, who believed they hadn’t. It likely cost the paper one investigative reporter, who decided to leave in frustration. And the Times ended up publishing a piece in which the institutional tensions about just what the story should be are palpable.
One noteworthy fact that this piece brings up exposes a hole in Bill Keller’s statement today: “It reached my desk late Tuesday afternoon.”
Talk about a b.s. technicality. Does anyone really believe this clever wording by Keller, designed to distance himself from the development of a story that he’s clearly been involved with for months? Writes Sherman:
In mid-January, Keller told the reporters to significantly recast the piece after several drafts had circulated among editors in Washington and New York. After three different versions, the piece ended up not as a stand-alone investigation but as an entry in the paper’s “The Long Run” series looking at presidential candidates’ career histories.
Read the whole piece here for a tick-tock of how the McCain story came to light.