The John McCain “Scoop”


So is this another case of a reporter (well, not actually a reporter but a linker, Drudge) who doesn’t like a candidate and going the extra mile to disembowel them as they are gaining ground ie. yesterday’s Fred story?

Just weeks away from a possible surprise victory in the primaries, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz has been waging a ferocious behind the scenes battle with the NEW YORK TIMES, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, and has hired DC power lawyer Bob Bennett to mount a bold defense against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist!

McCain has personally pleaded with NY TIMES editor Bill Keller not to publish the high-impact report involving key telecom legislation before the Senate Commerce Committee, newsroom insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

The paper’s Jim Rutenberg has been leading the investigation and is described as beyond frustrated with McCain’s aggressive and angry efforts to stop any and all publication.

The drama involves a woman lobbyist who may have helped to write key telecom legislation.

The woman in question has retained counsel and strongly denies receiving any special treatment from McCain.

Rutenberg, along with reporter David Kirkpatrick, has been developing the story for the last 6 weeks.

Rutenberg had hoped to break the story before the Christmas holiday, sources reveal, but editor Keller expressed serious reservations about journalism ethics and issuing a damaging story so close to an election.

McCain campaign officials Rick Davis, Charlie Black and Mark Salter are also said to have met with the NEW YORK TIMES in an effort to halt publication.


Or a case of a few reporters not getting the respect they demand from their editor and decide to go behind their back with the story?  (h/t Jim Addison)

Drudge came to prominence in precisely the latter fashion. When Michael Isikoff, then with Newsweek,
had the Monica Lewinsky story, his editors refused to run it
immediately. Perhaps they wanted more confirmation, perhaps they didn’t
want to hurt Clinton, perhaps they just didn’t believe it – the reason
isn’t relevant. Isikoff was afraid that any delay would mean someone
else would break the story and “scoop” him, so he or someone close to
him leaked the news to Drudge, then an obscure website. The rest, as
they say, is history.

I suspect the same mechanism is being used here by the NYT
reporters. Now, that paper hasn’t been shy about running stories with
flimsy verification in the recent past, but if this story was being
held up, the reporter may have used Drudge for leverage, just as
Isikoff and many others have since.

When an editor isn’t satisfied with a reporter’s sources or facts,
he can tell him to get more confirmation, etc. But once he feels the
reporter has spent enough time on the piece, he may just pull him and
assign him to something else, figuring not to waste more time on it. If
the reporter has a juicy enough tale to tell, though, Drudge will pick
it up and run with it.

I suspect its a bit of both.  Drudge has a history of not liking McCain and having his own dog in the race as Jim Geraghty notes:

It’s almost as if Drudge – you know, who wrote about McCain’s
“cancer scare” from a bruise that the senator got when he bumped his
head on a helicopter door while visiting Iraq – had an axe to grind in
the GOP primary or something… Or that maybe he had a preferred
candidate on the rhoades to 2008…

UPDATE: Want to know something else weird? The New York Times reporter mentioned in Drudge’s item, Jim Rutenberg, has written in the past about the alleged ties between Team Romney and the site:

The early advantage on their side, in the view of several Republicans, seems to have gone to Mitt Romney,
who hired the former Bush political aide who had been the central
party’s prime point of contact with Mr. Drudge, Matthew Rhoades. His
status was solidified after the 2004 election at a steakhouse dinner in
Miami with Mr. Drudge, who for all his renown in politics is a somewhat
spectral presence who rarely agrees to meet with political operatives
or journalists and who did not respond to requests for an interview for
this article. 

Weird coincidence….

So while we await the particulars of this “scoop” I have to say the fact that Drudge is blaring this story across his site in the largest font available: (click the image to get the true size of it on his site)


Is indicative of politics in this day and age, and the MSM.  If your a reporter, or a wannabe reporter like Drudge, and have a favorite candidate, then say so.  Let your bias be known so we, the reader, can judge the quality and substance of your work.  Everyone knows I am a Fred fan and I most obviously have a Fred bias.  I wear it on my sleeve for every reader to take note of.

These reporters who have obvious biases against certain people or certain policies, but pretend it doesn’t affect their work are some of the most dishonest people I know of.  Case in point, the MSM who pretend they have no judgment about Iraq one way or another and then precede to pummel the readers over and over and over again with any bad news they can find while ignoring the good news.  Another is the fact that these same reporters, finding no bad news to report on Iraq, instead choose to ignore the story all together and write about something else.

Then we have this story.  Which seems to be about a high traffic linker who dislikes McCain but likes Romney, agrees to whore out a story for some reporters who feel slighted that damage McCain.

The question is would Drudge do the same for a Romney story?

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I would guess that most likely scenario is that to both McCain and Drudge the ends justify the means, but there is not enough information to conclude anything. Politics evolved to be a dirty business because dirty business practices work. People are irrational and are generally fully capable of doublethink, which according to Orwell is believing two contradictory ideas at the same time. You can understand that your source of information is biased and be influenced by it.

It’s an interesting philosophical and practical question as to whether Fred’s stance vis-a-vis “the media” is the right one. There are the “build-up/tear down” theories out there about the “the media” handles “media darlings”, and so if you don’t let “the media” build you up they won’t be able to tear you down, and McCain is supposedly a poster-child for this. Fred referred to this in his “Fox is against me” complaint on Fox and Friends. On the other hand, Fred’s campaign boasted about getting all kinds of publicity without spending a dime prior to his entry into the race.

Why can’t the damn voters just focus on the issues in a rational manner? We are all just chimps with slightly higher IQ (in most cases, and sorry Huck, evolution is real). Each individual vote does not change the election, so in economic terms the marginal utility of voting your prejudices is A LOT higher than voting for your rational beliefs. C’est la vie.

Does anyone think that John McCain is clean. The only reason He wasn’t forced to resign with the other Keating offenders is they had no smoking gun like they did the others. Here he tries to squash a story. I want to know how he knew, so as to hire an attorney before hand. He got caught, but I believe They (Media) knew this for along time, and much more.

Do I think he’s clean? No. But the way in which this was done stinks to high heaven. I am no McCain fan whatsoever, but until all the evidence comes out I will withhold judgement. For now my scorn is on Drudge, the reporters who leaked the story their editors didn’t deem was ready to be released and the rest of the biased media.

Yeah, drudge sensationalizes, that’s primarily what his site does – links to high trafficked news sites. Unlike most other sites, though, if he’s wrong you’ll read the retraction front-page. While you may have pointed out a political lean from his site, it still remains the most moderate site on the net – which is why you’ll hear the extreme left and right bash him frequently. The best example is his global warming links. The fanatical pros and cons must have a field day with his balance of news sources. As often as Drudge’s links piss me off, I will still have it on the top of my news links.

Oh, I agree. He pisses me off plenty, but I still go back.

FRED THOMPSON is the best person to lead this country. He is a true conservative and has been his entire life. All one has to do is check his record to see this.

During my time in the Army as an Intelligence Analyst, I served under both Presidents Carter and Reagan (as my commanders in chief). Without argument, President Reagan was the best commander-in-chief a military person could ever have served under. Fred Thompson possesses the same qualities and vision as President Reagan in that he is strong on national defense and sees a dire need to secure our borders and control immigration.

I can think of no better person to lead this country and fix the problems we have. He is the only candidate from either party who has specific and detailed plans on border security and immigration reform; revitalization of America’s armed forces; saving and protecting Social Security; and tax relief and economic growth. These are detailed on his Web site at .

I challenge you to find any other candidate who has laid out specific plans to fix anything.
Fred Thompson has published his first principles, some of which are mentioned above. In addition to those, he strongly believes in individual liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, federalism, traditional American values, the rule of law and is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment — all concepts established during the birth of our country and documented in our Constitution.

Again, try to find any candidate who has laid out their plans to “fix” this country. You will find they all speak in vague and abstract terms on their plans.

For those who have heard Fred Thompson speak, you will usually hear him say that the Fred Thompson you see today is the same Fred Thompson you saw yesterday and is the same Fred Thompson you will see tomorrow. He stands by his principles and values and doesn’t shift his positions based on polls or public opinion; in other words, he doesn’t say what the voters want to hear just to get elected, but remains steadfast on his views and convictions.

During his time in the Senate he focused on three areas: to lower taxes, strengthen national security and expose waste in the federal government. Fred Thompson has foreign policy experience, having served as member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Intelligence committees.

As chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, he opened the investigation in 1997 on the Chinese government’s attempt to influence American policies and elections, and this investigation identified connections with the Clinton administration (documented in the committee’s report).

As a member of the Finance Committee, he worked tirelessly to enact three major tax-cut bills. Fred Thompson remains steadfast and even though a person may not agree with all his views and he understands some may disagree with him, you can count on him to be consistent and unwavering.

Don’t be fooled by his laid back approach and what critics call his “laziness.” As a former assistant U.S. attorney, he earned a reputation as a tough prosecutor and he possesses the toughness this country needs in order to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s issues.

I ask that you take a hard look at what this country needs, then take a hard look at all the other candidates’ views, policies, their records and their track record on consistency. Fred Thompson possesses integrity, loyalty, commitment, energy and decisiveness, all traits of an effective leader, and will emerge as the best person to take this country boldly forward.

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