Iseman: New York Times McCain Affair Article Cost Me $27 Million


Lobbyist Vicki Iseman is mortified at the implication that she might have been cuddling with John McCain.  So she wants $27 million from the New York Times (NYT) for quoting unidentified McCain aides as saying that she and the Senator had gotten improperly close.

NYT: A Washington lobbyist sued The New York Times and several of its reporters and editors Tuesday, charging that the newspaper had falsely created an impression that she had engaged in an improper romantic relationship with Senator John McCain.

The suit, filed in the Federal District Court in Richmond, Va., said that a front-page article on Feb. 21 “falsely communicated” that the lobbyist, Vicki L. Iseman, and Mr. McCain “had an illicit ‘romantic’ and unethical relationship in breach of the public trust in 1999.” At that time, Ms. Iseman was representing clients before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, then headed by Mr. McCain.

“Ms. Iseman did not engage in any behaviour toward him that was anything other than professional and appropriate,” said the suit, which seeks damages of $27 million….

The article did not directly say that Ms. Iseman and Mr. McCain had had a romantic relationship. But it did say several aides of his had been “convinced” that he had grown too close to Ms. Iseman and that he might be damaged if the relationship became known.

The NYT is standing behind its story and fighting the suit, which it should. It never said the pair were sleeping together. And if McCain aides really were worried that the relationship, whatever it was, might damage McCain, they were right to be. Perception is reality.

In any event, we’d be surprised if Vicki Iseman’s reputation really sustained $27 million worth of damage from the revelation that John McCain had a crush on her. In fact, one could presumably argue the opposite. Also, the article ran 10 months ago. What took her so long?

See Also: New York Times: Bend Over, Shareholders, Here Comes The Dilution