Remember Vicki Iseman, the lovely, blonde lobbyist who spent all that time back in 1999 with Senator John McCain? She settled earlier today with the New York Times, which did not retract the Feb 28, 2008 article outlining her relationship to McCain. Although she sued for $27 million, she got no money, either:
On Thursday, the two sides released a joint statement saying: "To resolve the lawsuit, Ms. Iseman has accepted The Times’s explanation, which will appear in a Note to Readers to be published in the newspaper on Feb. 20, that the article did not state, and The Times did not intend to conclude, that Ms. Iseman had engaged in a romantic affair with Senator McCain or an unethical relationship on behalf of her clients in breach of the public trust."
She got the Times to say that it never intended people to think she had an affair with McCain.
Whew, that's a relief!
You got to wonder, did McCain want Iseman to file the lawsuit in order to maintain proprieties for his 2010 Senate campaign? Is this something the Beer Princess wanted?
Anyway, the Times agreed (as part of the settlement) to publish her lawyer's views on the lawsuit, including a quote from "Othello":
Words have extraordinary power to wreak havoc on the life of a human being. Shakespeare, writing in Othello that "Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls" marked this essential link between our reputation and our humanity....
Ms. Iseman, however, is not a government or public official, and in our view, not even a public figure. Had this case proceeded to trial, the judicial determination of whether she is entitled to the protections afforded a private citizen would have been the subject of a ferocious, pivotal battle, with Ms. Iseman insisting on her status as a private person and The New York Times asserting that she had entered the public arena, and was therefore fair game. That judicial contest has now been concluded in this instance, but the issue deserves ongoing scrutiny, certainly in our schools of law and journalism, but also in the arena of public debate.
Sometimes it's better not to file suit, I'm thinking.
Remember how the article said that Iseman joined him on private jets, and that multiple aides tried to intervene to "save McCain from himself?" That all stands.
Anyway, Iseman still doesn't think she was a public figure, and she didn't have an affair with McCain — not that the Times ever said so!
Now that she's preserved her good name, she can get back to her lobbying.
Bless her jewel of a soul!
What the article set out to do, and did, was to establish that Senator McCain -- a man whose career was ensnared by scandal and then rebuilt on a reputation for avoiding even the appearance of impropriety -- was sometimes careless of that reputation. The story reported that a senator who cast himself as the scourge of lobbyists rode on the private jets of business executives with interests before his committee, and that a senator who disdained the influence of corporate money accepted corporate money to support that very cause.
The article also reported, in that regard, that the senator's behavior toward Ms. Iseman convinced some of his aides that his relationship with the lobbyist had become romantic; that the aides warned the senator this could endanger his reputation; and that they set out to limit Ms. Iseman's access to the senator. Our reporting was accurate.
And this little note of the surreal: the Los Angeles Times published an internal memo circulated by Dean Baquet (former editor of the LA Times) to his current employees in the Washington Bureau of the New York Times.