At Instapundit, Althouse quotes Hoyt, the NY Times ”public editor,” on the now infamous (but at least usefully fund-raising) investigation of McCain . Keller defends the story ”about a man nearly felled by scandal who rebuilt himself as a fighter against corruption but is still ‘careless about appearances, careless about his reputation, and that’s a pretty important thing to know about somebody who wants to be president of the United States.’”
Of course, we might question the paper’s carelessness about “appearances” and, indeed, its “reputation.” The defense seems to be that the nonexistent “sex” scandal was not important; the role of lobbyists and the earlier scandal were. Such innocence on the part of the paper, such dirty mindedness on the part of its readers! Ah, if we were only as serious as they.
More to the point, however, a friend pointed to Hannity’s interview with Bob Bennett which throws light on the “real” scandal. A major figure in the investigation of the Keating Five, Bennett describes just how minor McCain’s role was in the scandal the NYT used to jumpstart this little piece. (Bennett also argues John Glenn’s innocence.) Bennett says
You know, I’m in a pretty unique position to talk about John McCain. First, I should tell your listeners, you know, I’m a registered Democrat, so I’m not on his side of a lot of issues. But I investigated John McCain for a year and a half, at least, when I was special counsel to the Senate Ethics Committee in the Keating Five, which, by the way, this New York Times article goes back to and discusses, goes back years and years.
And if there is one thing I am absolutely confident of, it is John McCain is an honest and honest man. I recommended to the Senate Ethics Committee that he be cut out of the case, that there was no evidence against him, and I think for the New York Times to dig this up just shows that Senator McCain’s public statement about this is correct. It’s a smear job. I’m sorry.