Times, McCain Lobbyist Spar Over Settlement

Lobbyist claims to have extracted a retraction; paper disagrees
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Feb 20, 2009 9:42 AM CST
In this photo provided by CBS, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., appears on CBS's "Face the Nation" in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009.   (AP Photo/CBS Face the Nation, Karin Cooper)
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(Newser) – Vicki Iseman’s lawsuit against the New York Times ended not with money changing hands, or a retraction, but with what Iseman’s lawyer have dubbed a retraction of an "implication"—which allows both parties to declare victory, Politico reports. The paper issued a statement that it never claimed the lobbyist had an affair with John McCain in the first place. Times DC bureau chief Dean Baquet says, “We did not retract one word of the story.”

“It is a retraction,” Iseman's lawyer retorted, "of the implication that Ms. Iseman had this unethical, romantic relationship with Senator McCain." The settlement was wrapped up unusually quickly, and the paper’s statement doesn’t follow the typical format of an “Editor’s Note” admitting a problem. The piece, which asserted that McCain’s staffers were concerned he was having an affair, received heavy criticism as unsubstantiated, a charge Times executive editor Bill Keller denies. "it was not that, either explicitly or implicitly,”