Friday, February 20, 2009

Up Is Down Watch:
The Iseman Foldeth = "Complete Vindication"

Opening of a memo to staff from Dean Baquet, the Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, as obtained by Politico:

Vicki Iseman has dropped her lawsuit [warning: giant PDF --bjk] against The Times, just weeks after it was filed. We paid no money. We did not apologize. We did not retract one word of the story, which was a compelling chapter in the tale of Senator John McCain and his political rise.

Opening of a statement by executive editor Bill Keller, published in today's Times:

The commentary by Mssrs. Smolla and Allen [two of Iseman's lawyers --bjk] gives readers a general sense of the case they would have attempted to make if their lawsuit had proceeded. But the first point to make is, the case did not proceed. It was settled without money changing hands, and without The Times backing away from the story. In the joint statement we are releasing today and in a "Note to Readers," we reiterate what we have said since the story was published: that article did not allege an affair or unethical behavior on Ms. Iseman's part. We stand by our coverage, and we are proud of it.

So much for the reality-based community. Now, let's hear from the side that believes, among other things, that maintaining unanimous opposition while losing a vote in Congress means victory. Greg Sargent at The Plum Line reports:

... I just got off the phone with Iseman’s lawyer, and he claims that she won this battle — and that she didn’t drop the suit at all. He’s claiming “complete vindication.”


[Said Allen:] “We’re pleased that the lawsuit was able to be resolved successfully, with the complete vindication that Ms. Iseman sought in filing the lawsuit.”

Actually, looking all the way back to the last days of 2008, what Iseman sought was $27 million for "defamation" that caused "serious damage to her professional reputation," contending that "the paper acted with 'actual malice' -- a 'reckless disregard' for the truth."

All we need now is someone like Mark Halperin to tell us how this is actually great news for John McCain.

[Added] Props to Roger Ailes (the trustworthy one) for succinctness.

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