This has not been the best year ever for The New York Times. They’ve had to (finally) slash dividends, mortgage their pretty new building, and are currently attempting to sell their stake in the Boston Red Sox. Now, to cap it all off they are being sued! Remember that big 5000 word piece they did back in February on John McCain and lobbyists which insinuated that John McCain had had an affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman — a story which, incidentally, made more than one media blunder list in the last few weeks — well Iseman has just filed a $27 million defamation lawsuit against the paper for giving a false impression about her and McCain’s relationship.
That The New York Times would make such aggressive and sensational allegations and insinuations in the face of on-the-record denials by Ms. Iseman and Senator McCain only reinforced the message to readers that The New York Times in fact believed that Ms. Iseman and Senator McCain had indeed engaged in an ‘inappropriate relationship,’ a relationship that was romantic, unethical, and a conflict of interest…Otherwise, reasonable readers would conclude, The New York Times would never have printed the story at all.
The Times has issued a statement saying that they “fully stand behind the article.”
The timing of the lawsuit is interesting. Why now? That article ran back in February, and the election ended two months ago. On this morning’s podcast we speculated that maybe Iseman read some of the year end lists which mentioned the blunder and was reinspired! Whatever the reason, one imagines this is the very last thing the Times wants to be dealing with as we head into a new, and likely difficult, year.