Posted by Curt on 20 December, 2007 at 4:17 pm. 7 comments already!


So is this another case of a reporter (well, not actually a reporter but a linker, Drudge) who doesn’t like a candidate and going the extra mile to disembowel them as they are gaining ground ie. yesterday’s Fred story?

Just weeks away from a possible surprise victory in the primaries, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz has been waging a ferocious behind the scenes battle with the NEW YORK TIMES, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, and has hired DC power lawyer Bob Bennett to mount a bold defense against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist!

McCain has personally pleaded with NY TIMES editor Bill Keller not to publish the high-impact report involving key telecom legislation before the Senate Commerce Committee, newsroom insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

The paper’s Jim Rutenberg has been leading the investigation and is described as beyond frustrated with McCain’s aggressive and angry efforts to stop any and all publication.

The drama involves a woman lobbyist who may have helped to write key telecom legislation.

The woman in question has retained counsel and strongly denies receiving any special treatment from McCain.

Rutenberg, along with reporter David Kirkpatrick, has been developing the story for the last 6 weeks.

Rutenberg had hoped to break the story before the Christmas holiday, sources reveal, but editor Keller expressed serious reservations about journalism ethics and issuing a damaging story so close to an election.

McCain campaign officials Rick Davis, Charlie Black and Mark Salter are also said to have met with the NEW YORK TIMES in an effort to halt publication.


Or a case of a few reporters not getting the respect they demand from their editor and decide to go behind their back with the story?  (h/t Jim Addison)

Drudge came to prominence in precisely the latter fashion. When Michael Isikoff, then with Newsweek,
had the Monica Lewinsky story, his editors refused to run it
immediately. Perhaps they wanted more confirmation, perhaps they didn’t
want to hurt Clinton, perhaps they just didn’t believe it – the reason
isn’t relevant. Isikoff was afraid that any delay would mean someone
else would break the story and “scoop” him, so he or someone close to
him leaked the news to Drudge, then an obscure website. The rest, as
they say, is history.

I suspect the same mechanism is being used here by the NYT
reporters. Now, that paper hasn’t been shy about running stories with
flimsy verification in the recent past, but if this story was being
held up, the reporter may have used Drudge for leverage, just as
Isikoff and many others have since.

When an editor isn’t satisfied with a reporter’s sources or facts,
he can tell him to get more confirmation, etc. But once he feels the
reporter has spent enough time on the piece, he may just pull him and
assign him to something else, figuring not to waste more time on it. If
the reporter has a juicy enough tale to tell, though, Drudge will pick
it up and run with it.

I suspect its a bit of both.  Drudge has a history of not liking McCain and having his own dog in the race as Jim Geraghty notes:

It’s almost as if Drudge – you know, who wrote about McCain’s
“cancer scare” from a bruise that the senator got when he bumped his
head on a helicopter door while visiting Iraq – had an axe to grind in
the GOP primary or something… Or that maybe he had a preferred
candidate on the rhoades to 2008…

UPDATE: Want to know something else weird? The New York Times reporter mentioned in Drudge’s item, Jim Rutenberg, has written in the past about the alleged ties between Team Romney and the site:

The early advantage on their side, in the view of several Republicans, seems to have gone to Mitt Romney,
who hired the former Bush political aide who had been the central
party’s prime point of contact with Mr. Drudge, Matthew Rhoades. His
status was solidified after the 2004 election at a steakhouse dinner in
Miami with Mr. Drudge, who for all his renown in politics is a somewhat
spectral presence who rarely agrees to meet with political operatives
or journalists and who did not respond to requests for an interview for
this article. 

Weird coincidence….

So while we await the particulars of this “scoop” I have to say the fact that Drudge is blaring this story across his site in the largest font available: (click the image to get the true size of it on his site)


Is indicative of politics in this day and age, and the MSM.  If your a reporter, or a wannabe reporter like Drudge, and have a favorite candidate, then say so.  Let your bias be known so we, the reader, can judge the quality and substance of your work.  Everyone knows I am a Fred fan and I most obviously have a Fred bias.  I wear it on my sleeve for every reader to take note of.

These reporters who have obvious biases against certain people or certain policies, but pretend it doesn’t affect their work are some of the most dishonest people I know of.  Case in point, the MSM who pretend they have no judgment about Iraq one way or another and then precede to pummel the readers over and over and over again with any bad news they can find while ignoring the good news.  Another is the fact that these same reporters, finding no bad news to report on Iraq, instead choose to ignore the story all together and write about something else.

Then we have this story.  Which seems to be about a high traffic linker who dislikes McCain but likes Romney, agrees to whore out a story for some reporters who feel slighted that damage McCain.

The question is would Drudge do the same for a Romney story?

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