Thursday, February 21, 2008

Vicki Iseman: Times Story's Motives, Timing Questioned

Why Did the NY Times Sit on Story?
Why Did Alcalde & Fay Pull Vicki Iseman's bio from its website?

The story of Vicki Iseman and any relationship to John McCain is starting to shift.

Questions are starting to arise as to the way the New York Times handled the story, when they chose to publish it, and their motives.

For a "scandal", unless the Times, which has spent a lot of time on the story, has any more information it's sitting on, this story will have the legs of Long John Silver.

Senator McCain's campaign has issued a response the NY Times article.
“It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

“Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career.”

DBKP Political Scandal Library
-- Over 40 stories and videos on scandals involving 2008 Presidential Candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain and John Edwards.

Reuters has reported that "McCain will address the Times story at a news conference in Toledo, Ohio, at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) on Thursday."
McCain was asked about the Times story by reporters at the airport in Toledo, after returning from campaign events in Illinois. "I haven't seen it yet, so I can't comment," he said.

It's hard to see what everyone is so worked up about: the Times story is mostly some innuendo, some hints and a long recounting of McCain's involvement in the Keating Five Scandal.

Still, we wonder about the disappearance of Vicki Iseman's biographical info and picture from the lobby firm, Alcalde & Fay's website last evening.

What does that mean?

As reported in our earlier story, "Who is Vicki Iseman?", that Iseman's information and photo had disappeared from the Alcalde & Fay website shortly after we'd copied it for the story.

The enterprising folks at Buckeye State Blog were quick enough to grab a screen shot of the page before it vanished.

It is reproduced below in--all in the cause of history.

Click on image to enlarge

As the folks at BSB put it: "Since Vicki Iseman, John McCain's alleged special interest, profile may be deleted from Alcade & Fay, BSB's more than happy to host it. You know, googlecache only last so long, but BSB is forever."

The New York Timess story, in which it hints at a romantic relationship between Iseman and McCain, has no proof.

Indeed, there is nothing in the story but some "imprudent" appearances.

It's not like the Senator hired Iseman to do work for his campaign--say a campaign video.

Or that she is now pregnant.

Or that she is living in a McCain supporter's house.

Or that Iseman is driving around in a BMW owned by a former, high-ranking McCain campaign official.

Those are the details in the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter affair, which the Times hasn't covered at all.

The Times stated that McCain declined repeated attempts at an interview.

How about one question from a Times reporter to John Edwards on the Rielle Hunter affair?

Just one.

No Times reporter thought it news to ask John Edwards if he denies he has been in telephone contact with Rielle Hunter since she found out she was pregnant.

Where is the persistence of the Times journalists in that story?

Just one question.

The difference in the Times attitude toward John McCain--a candidate that has none of the damning evidence against him that Edwards had in the Rielle Hunter story--is revealing about how the Times covers "news" and "scandals".

The lack of even one attempt to ask one question to John Edwards vs. "repeated attempts to interview John McCain on Vicki Iseman.

Sam Stein, at Huffington Post, makes an interesting observation.
In the wake of revelations that Sen. John McCain had a close and perhaps romantic relationship with a telecommunications lobbyist, political observers are left wondering why The New York Times chose to run the article when it did. Meanwhile, conservatives are contemplating how different the election would be had the story been published sooner.

Back to Vicki Iseman.

The following is the damning part of the entire Times story:
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.

Nothing there that we can see.

The Times then unloads on what is a decidedly disappointing--for a scandal--money shot.
The lobbyist, a partner at the firm Alcalde & Fay, represented telecommunications companies for whom Mr. McCain’s commerce committee was pivotal. Her clients contributed tens of thousands of dollars to his campaigns.

Mr. Black said Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman were friends and nothing more. But in 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, “Why is she always around?”

That February, Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman attended a small fund-raising dinner with several clients at the Miami-area home of a cruise-line executive and then flew back to Washington along with a campaign aide on the corporate jet of one of her clients, Paxson Communications. By then, according to two former McCain associates, some of the senator’s advisers had grown so concerned that the relationship had become romantic that they took steps to intervene.

A former campaign adviser described being instructed to keep Ms. Iseman away from the senator at public events, while a Senate aide recalled plans to limit Ms. Iseman’s access to his offices.

The Times says that during the 2000 primary contest with George Bush, "Mr. Bush’s allies called Mr. McCain “sanctimonious.”"

And that is mostly what the story is about: John McCain's arrogance. It's something that conservatives have long complained of when the Arizona senator spurned conservative principles to garner media approval, such as on global warming.

Being arrogant is no scandal, though.

If it were, the New York Times would reek of scandal.

Even the Times article title, "For McCain, Self-confidence on Ethics Poses its own Risks", could be emblazoned upon a plaque and affixed to the front of the Times Building--minus the "For McCain".


Vicki Iseman's 2007 Clients and Amount of Lobbying Contract for Alcalde & Fay

Arison Family Trust $60,000

BearingPoint Inc $700,000

CACI International $160,000 [total]

City of Miami, FL $60,000

Computer Sciences Corp $400,000

Homer-Center School District $20,000

Indiana University of Pennsylvania $40,000

Ion Media Networks $60,000

Jovan Broadcasting $60,000

Operation Warm $20,000

Saga Communications $40,000

Total Living Network $40,000

--from The Center for Responsive Politics

What did the Times story accomplish? Stein speculates, as does Bay Buchanan, an adviser for Mitt Romney's suspended campaign.
Regardless of the paper's motives, conservative pundits were left fuming, noting that the Times had, at once, spared McCain at the point of his greatest vulnerability (when his campaign was still a long shot) and denied his primary opponents perhaps the knock-out blow. Would the GOP have a different candidate on its hands had things been handled differently?

"Oh, there's no question it would have impacted [the race]," Bay Buchanan, a former adviser of ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, told CNN. "I think John McCain would not have won this primary if there's any evidence whatsoever that surfaces that these stories are true... McCain's lawyers went into the New York Times and said do not touch this story. Do not move on this story. And there's no question this was beneficial to McCain to hold the story. No question. His nomination was very much threatened by this story if it broke too early. So what they did was hurt the Republican Party by not allowing this to be aired properly at the time they received this information."

As we've said before, until the New York Times, and the rest of the Mainstream Media, show the persistence about other candidates, we'll assume it's the same old NY Times.

John McCain may be arrogant and "sanctimonious".

But he's a piker compared to the Times.

"All the news that fits--the Times' agenda."

by Mondoreb
* Buckeye State Blogs

* Why Did the NY Times Hold the McCain-Lobbyist Story?
* For McCain, Self-confidence on Ethics Poses its own risks
* Buckeye State Blog
* The Center for Responsive Politics


Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your name/nic.
We've changed the comments section to allow non-registered users to comment.
We'll continue like that until it's being abused.
We reserve the right to delete all abusive or otherwise inappropriate comments.