The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

AWESOME: New York Times Sued for Libel by Lobbyist the Paper Directly Implied Was Sleeping With McCain

Posted by iusbvision on December 31, 2008

Remember the story? As soon as John McCain secured the nomination the NYT launched a deliberately and carefully worded smear piece that accused John McCain of having an affair with a lobbyist.

Now that lobbyist is taking the NYT to court for “false light libel” and from what we have learned about the story it was malicious and not just merely incompetent.

For those of you who are not First Amendment guru’s such as your truly, an example of false light libel would be the following:

The “tribune” sends a staff photographer to take a picture of the local strip joint. The local strip joint has a small mom and pop grocery store next to it. Your wife is walking to that grocery store and is in front of the strip joint when the picture is snapped, making it look like your wife is going into the strip joint to work. That picture appears on the front page of the paper.

The “tribune” ends up paying damages to your wife. In a nutshell that is how false light libel works. It is made worse in this New York Times incident because after the story was investigated, no responsible journalist would have worded the story and presented the narrative it did. The aggravating circumstances are compounded because the New York Times sat on the story for months to launch it at just the right time. While proving the story was malicious in court based on this evidence alone is shaky, odds are the discovery process will yield more information. Considering the NYT serious revenue issues, this is the last thing they needed.


Washington lobbyist sues The New York Times over article linking her with McCain


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Washington lobbyist sued The New York Times for $27 million Tuesday over an article that she says gave the false impression she had an affair with Sen. John McCain in 1999.The newspaper stood by the story.

Vicki L. Iseman filed the defamation suit in U.S. District Court in Richmond. It also names as defendants the Times’ executive editor, its Washington bureau chief and four reporters.

Iseman represented telecommunications companies before the Senate Commerce Committee, which McCain chaired. In February, as McCain was seeking the Republican presidential nomination, the Times reported that McCain aides once worried the relationship between Iseman and McCain had turned romantic.

The article said that both McCain and Iseman denied any romantic relationship, but the lawsuit says most readers would find that obligatory.

“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,” the lawsuit says. “Otherwise, reasonable readers would conclude, The New York Times would never have printed the story at all.”

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