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Friday, February 20, 2009
NewsBusters Baselessly Attacks NYT
Topic: NewsBusters

Stephen Gutowski turns his Feb. 19 NewsBusters post on the settlement of a lawsuit filed by Vicki Iseman against the New York Times over an article that, in Gutowski's words, "insinuated Iseman had an affair with John McCain" into an attack on the Times that the facts don't support.

Gutowski writes:

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.

Gutowski offers no evidence that the Times refused to to publish Iseman's side of the story before this -- for example, a Feb. 22, 2008, Times article specifically states McCain denying any affair and attacking the Times for purportedly suggesting it. He also ignores that the Times has regularly published conservatives like David Brooks and William Kristol. NewsBusters is much less likely to "print an editorial contrary to their opinion" than the Times is, which makes this a pot-kettle-black statement.

Further, Gutowski fails to explain how the Times' "pseudo-apology ... falls well short of what is required." The article contained no false statements, so there was no "wrongdoing" in the first place. Indeed, the fact that the lawsuit was settled with no retraction and no payment by the Times to Iseman, and got only a restatement of the article, is an indication of the weakness of Iseman's case.

By contrast, CNSNews.com -- like NewsBusters, a division of the Media Research Center -- has yet to apologize to Paul Begala for falsely claiming that he said that Republicans are trying to kill him and his family. Gutowski's anger seems a bit misdirected.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 PM EST

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