The biggest problem with the story is that it is extremely misleading, implying both an extra marital affair and improper favors given to lobbyists, especially the alleged paramour named in the article, lobbyist Vicki Iseman.
As I discussed last night, the sensational and splashy article actually contained almost no facts. It's all smoke and mirrors and frankly there's damned little smoke.
And while NPR attempted to be fair to Keller in articles and audio interviews this morning, Keller's explanations are as vapid as the article itself. It's hard to defend a story with no basis, and Keller fails miserably in his defense.
Here is Keller's explanation from David Folkenflik's story on the NPR website:
|"If, hypothetically, we had established that he had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist — and had done favors for that lobbyist — that would have been a different story," he [Keller] says.|
But the newspaper was not able to confirm any relationship. Instead, Keller tells NPR that the article that ran Thursday morning provided a slightly different insight into one of the nation's leading candidates for president.
"It's not a 'gotcha' story about some kind of quid pro quo," he says. "We don't know if there was a quid or a quo in this case.
In other words, it's an eight year old story about nothing.
And that deserved a feature position above the fold on page one? A breathlessly written gotcha story with no facts? Right next to an unusually large and splashy photo of Barack Obama?
Bill, all you proved today is that you are unfit to make judgements about news stories. I repeat my call for your resignation for the good of the Times.