The Times busts Cindy McCain

The deeply disgusting page-one New York Times profile of Cindy McCain should not be dismissed too quickly. It tells us nothing we didn’t know about Cindy McCain or the Times. Still, consider that the Times assigned two reporters (Jodi Kantor and David Halbfinger) to the profile. We know that Kantor trolled Facebook for trash among schoolmates of the McCains’ 16-year-old daughter. That must be some kind of a first for the Times, burrowing somewhere under the National Enquirer for journalistic practices.

To what end, one might well ask. Apparently for hot stuff like this:

[Mrs. McCain] can be imprecise: she has repeatedly called herself an only child, for instance, even though she has two half-siblings, and has provided varying details about a 1994 mercy mission to Rwanda.

There is much more hot stuff along this line, but you have to read all the way to the end of the story for these bombshells:

In interviews, some of Mrs. McCain’s statements seem questionable. She often tells of how she moved to California, leaving her children behind, for four months in 2004 to recover from a stroke that left her unable to walk or speak. But news reports from the time indicate she had few discernible impediments. She gave interviews four days afterward, attended a baseball game with her husband and a reporter several weeks later, and spoke at a Tempe, Ariz., Chamber of Commerce event. “One month out, I feel wonderful,” she told the audience. The McCain campaign declined to resolve the discrepancy.

Similarly, Mrs. McCain often mentions her travels to Rwanda at the height of the 1994 genocide — she wrote about it in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece and has been praised by politicians and newspaper columnists for jetting into the heart of a massacre. As with her other charity trips, participants praised her eagerness to help victims of tragedy. But news accounts and interviews indicate, and a campaign spokesman confirmed, that Mrs. McCain traveled after the genocide had ended, spending time with refugees in neighboring Zaire, now Congo. Asked if she was ever in Rwanda, as Mrs. McCain has stated many times, a campaign spokesman, Jill Hazelbaker, said “she was driven to the Zaire/Rwanda border in order to assess the conditions of the refugees entering the country.”

“Some of Mrs. McCain’s statements seem questionable.” Of such stuff are Pulitzer Prizes made.

Despite its remorseless vindictiveness, the Times profile has one incidental benefit. It elicited a letter from Akin Gump lawyer John Dowd on behalf of Mrs. McCain, making a point with somewhat more passion than has been the custom of the McCain campaign:

It is worth noting that you have not employed your investigative assets looking into Michelle Obama. You have not tried to find Barack Obama’s drug dealer that he wrote about in his book Dreams [From] My Father. Nor have you interviewed his poor relatives in Kenya and determined why Barack Obama has not rescued them. Thus, there is a terrific lack of balance here.

Among other things.

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