New York Times and Lobbyist Settle Defamation Case Over McCain Affair Article

February 19th, 2009 8:58 PM

The New York Times is reporting today that it has reached a settlement with Vicki Iseman in her defamation suit against the paper. The suit stemmed from the NYT article which insinuated Iseman had an affair with John McCain. Here are the terms of the settlement:

The suit, filed by Vicki L. Iseman, the Washington lobbyist, was settled without payment and The Times did not retract the article. In an unusual agreement, however, The Times is letting Ms. Iseman’s lawyers give their views on the suit on the paper’s Web site.

Their opinion is accompanied by a joint statement from both sides and a note to readers, which will also appear in Friday's edition of the newspaper.

It is quite sad that it takes a lawsuit for the New York Times to at least sort of admit their wrong doing in publishing the disgrace to professional journalism that article is. And it is maddening that their pseudo-apology falls well short of what is required for this kind of egregious assault on reporting. Not to mention that it seems to take a lawsuit to make the New York Times print an editorial contrary to their opinion.

So you can an idea of just how disappointing the pseudo-apology the Times printed here is their note to readers:

An article published on February 21, 2008, about Senator John McCain and his record as an ethics reformer who was at times blind to potential conflicts of interest included references to Vicki Iseman, a Washington lobbyist. The article did not state, and The Times did not intend to conclude, that Ms. Iseman had engaged in a romantic affair with Senator McCain or an unethical relationship on behalf of her clients in breach of the public trust.
And you can follow this link to the editorial from the lawyers who represented Iseman in her suit. And you can find the joint statement from both sides at this link. Be sure to check back to this post for updates as they are announced.