February 21, 2008

Associated Press, Like Others, Retails Malicious Rumor as "Reporting"

Hatched by Dafydd

Don't you just love this headline? Cindy McCain, Like Others, Stands by Man

Hm... now what might this imply via subtext? Oh, let's read a little further:

She and her husband, likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain, emphatically denied suggestions in published reports that he had an affair with a lobbyist.

A coterie of wives has confronted the public pain of such an accusation. Smaller still is the band who, like Cindy McCain, have spoken out.

Now, bear in mind that this AP article arises in response to a sleazy New York Times article from earlier today -- which implied but did not openly claim that John McCain had some sort of affair with a 40-something lobbyist... eight years ago. There is a reason that the Times was so circumspect: Not a single person has stepped forward to say such an affair occurred. Nobody.

Here is how the Times put it:

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself -- instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

Understand? Not only has nobody come to the Times and said "they were having an affair." Even the people who did talk to them don't claim to have known that; they were simply worried that others -- read "the elite media" -- might leap to that conclusion.

Yet somehow, this non-allegation allegation has metastasized into "suggestions in published reports that he had an affair with a lobbyist," as AP put it. (Like those "suggestions in published reports" that John McCain fathered a "black child.")

And now we see the insidious nature and tactics of rumor-mongering... because AP goes explicit, just in case you missed the connection (they know their core audience, and they know they have to be spoonfed the slimy inuendo):

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady who is battling Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, memorably insisted to CBS's "60 Minutes" during the 1992 campaign, "I'm not sitting here, some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette." She sat beside husband Bill.

And there was her cool demeanor, six years later, at the news conference where her husband declared of Monica Lewinsky: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

Mrs. Clinton made this barbed observation to the journalists who were present, "I'm pleased to see so many people in attendance who care about child care," a reference to the reason the news conference had been arranged.

You see? So Cindy McCain is standing by her man and insisting that he didn't have the affair, just as Hillary Clinton did with Bill Clinton. But of course, when Hillary did so, she was either lying herself -- or she let her husband make a fool of her.

Can anybody guess what the subtextual implication of this is, anent the McCains?

Think it was just a coincidence? How about this paragraph:

On Thursday, Cindy McCain struck a balance between strident and shocked as she calmly helped her husband confront the allegations. She was no Hillary Clinton, but neither was she silent, like the wives of New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey and Idaho Sen. Larry Craig. The first announced he was gay, the second said he was not.

Hillary Clinton's husband really was having multiple affairs in the White House. Dina Matos McGreevey's husband really was having an affair with a male aide. Suzanne Craig's husband really did pled guilty to making homosexual advances to an undercover police officer in a public toilet. Cindy McCain's husband...

Just in case the connection hadn't been hammered home enough... the AP story goes on to compare Cindy McCain to the wives of Louisiana Rep. David Vitter, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and Sen. Gary Hart... all of whom have admitted -- or been caught red-handed in -- their extramarital sexual affairs.

This inuendo is simply loathsome. Here is the chain of "reasoning" so far in this "news" story:

  1. Some former McCain staffers -- anonymous, of course (doesn't any source give his name anymore?) -- were worried that McCain's friendship with Vicki Iseman might possibly be improper, though they had no evidence that it was;
  2. Others were worried that gutter-minded journalists might leap to the conclusion that it was improper, especially if McCain were nominated;
  3. Therefore, they discouraged her from hanging around McCain;
  4. The Times decided it was urgent to bring this before the American people, so that McCain would have to answer for his transgressions -- real or confabulated;
  5. This gave AP cover to openly compare McCain's wife to the wives of numerous politicians who were openly accused of sexual impropriety by the other women/men involved... and who subsequently admitted their sins;
  6. Therefore, we are to conclude, John McCain must be equally guilty.

Well! Who could argue with that?

Then, like any successful used-car salesman, the writer (Libby Quaid, whoever he or she is) "closes the deal" in the final paragraph:

"The allegation of infidelity is still a powerful allegation, and it remains powerful because it's about trust and responsibility, the idea that if you're cheating on your spouse, what can we expect of you in the presidency," he said. ["He" = Stanley Renshon, "political psychologist" -- huh? -- at CUNY.]

Get the point, you Bible-thumping, woman-hating, judgmental Evangelical Christians who have been threatening to sit out the election? John McCain is just like womanizer Bill Clinton, party-boy Gary Hart, and gay Gov. Jim McGreevy! So go ahead and sit home in a snit on November 4th... you don't want to put some atheist sex maniac like him in the White House, do you?

Great leaping horny toads. At least the Weekly World News has faux photographs of the space aliens who are taking over the world. AP doesn't even bother with that level of substantiation! What next... will they hint that Cindy McCain had thespian encounters at USC, and that McCain himself has been caught masticating in public?

As Mark Twain put it (with a slight lizardian edit) in Life on the Mississippi...

There is something fascinating about [yellow journalism]. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 21, 2008, at the time of 4:50 PM

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Tracked on February 26, 2008 7:51 PM


The following hissed in response by: TerryeL

I saw that AP headline and was so disgusted I refused to read it.

Why didn't they just ask the man when he stopped beating that wife of his. Same difference.

Meanwhile the fawning, drooling, swooning, fainting coverage of the Chosen One, Obama continues. That is getting freakier by the day.

I heard there is a story out there about some guy who says that back in 1999 he and Obama had an encounter in a limo and a hotel and crack was involved. He even volunteered to take a lie detector test. Now, that sounds like the kind of story the New York Times or its sister, the National Enquirer might like to cover. They should just jump right on that.

The above hissed in response by: TerryeL [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2008 6:23 PM

The following hissed in response by: Chris Hunt

This campaign seems to be more sophisticated than it first appeared. These people are good at what they do, there's no doubt about that. It certainly gives the appearance of being overtly coordinated, but that's probably just a coincidence.

The above hissed in response by: Chris Hunt [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2008 4:35 AM

The following hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr

This article is even more fascinating. It's actually a good article, worth reading and very well researched; but the level of bias and prejudice the author had rises so high that all the research is dwarfed by quotes like this:

"Few commentators on the right—including some who regularly denounce ethical lapses or weaknesses of the flesh among Democrats—paused to assess seriously whether the Times's suggestions of conflict of interest were well-founded."

Wow. He figured out that we didn't even pause. What amazing mind-reading. (No, I'm serious about the high quality of the research in the REST of the article. The rest of it's well-researched -- it's only in a few lines like that, and the entire tone, that the author shows his total prejudice.)

Anyhow... Enjoy.

The above hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2008 9:29 AM

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