EDITORIAL: For the New York Times, self-confidence on ethics poses its own risk — prigs can fall too

New York Times Exclusive Rumor: McCain in bed with lobbyist… maybe… at least we talked to a couple of people who thought that some other people might think that it looked like that was happening… maybe… at least we thought this was fit to print… at least fit to print if The New Republic was going to run it anyway

gordonbennett.jpgJim Rutenberg, Marilyn W. Thompson, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Stephen Labaton, along with research by Barclay Walsh and Kitty Bennett — a veritable posse of journalists! Are they all hoping they have a shot at getting a Pulizer prize? I don’t think so. This is about strength in numbers. No one wants to carry the can for a story destined for a special place in the New York Times‘ hall of fame for lousy journalism.

Now if John McCain really was in bed with a lobbyist that would be real news. Not necessarily something that the Times could bring itself to condense into a pithy little, no-nonsense, blaring headline.

Instead we have this story: “For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk.” Which is to say, there are indications that John McCain may have exercised an error in judgment by thinking that his own confidence in his own integrity meant that others would share that same confidence even when presented with the appearance that he might in fact be acting with a lack of integrity. (R.D. Laing would appreciate that — read Knots and you’ll know what I mean.) Oh, and by the way, McCain might actually have been having an affair. But we don’t know that — we just know that a few people thought that might be happening, but we don’t know who those people are, just that they included two associates “who said they had become disillusioned with the senator.” And that’s news? Gordon Bennett!

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