After Hillary Clinton withdrew from the race for the Democratic nomination, Maureen Dowd wrote in the New York Times:
It’s good news for Obama that Hillary’s out of the race. But it’s also bad news. Now Republicans can turn their full attention to demonizing Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama is the new, unwilling contestant in Round Two of the sulfurous national game of â€œKill the witch.â€
Perhaps, Dowd should be paying more attention to her editors and colleagues at the Times. It seems they’ve been playing their own sulfurous game.
First, it was a hit piece on Sarah Palin (leaving out the Alaska Governor’s accomplishments), an actual female candidate for public office. Now, they’ve chosen to demonize Cindy McCain. Their reporter Jodi Kantor even e-mailed (via Facebook) a friend of the McCains’ youngest daughter Bridget to ask her “advice” about covering Mrs. McCain.
Well, I guess a teenager could give a New York Times reporter some advice.Â The article reads like opposition research on a candidate for public office.Â And Mrs. McCain is not herself a candidate, just the spouse. Â And the Times was once the paper of record, not the house organ of one candidate.
I wonder if Dowd has anything to say about her paper’s “unprecedented attack on a presidential candidate’s spouse.” Commenting on the Times article, McCain campaign blogger Michael Goldfarb writes:
The New York Times has stooped lower than this campaign ever imagined possible in an attempt to discredit a woman whose only apparent sin is being married to the man that would oppose that paper’s preferred candidate, Barack Obama, in his quest for the Presidency. It is a black mark on the record of a paper that was once widely respected, but is now little more than a propaganda organ for the Democratic party. The New York Times has accused John McCain of running a dishonorable campaign, but today it is plain to see where the real dishonor lies.
Kind of sounds like the way the Times covered Palin, paint a woman in the worst possible light, ignore her accomplishments, the good work she has done.Â What does the paper have against Republican women? Maybe Maureen Dowd should look into this.
Words escape me. Editorialists fault Republicans for even mentioning the public statements of the wife of the Democratic nominee. And now, we’ve got a major daily assigning reporters to investigate the private life of the Republican nominee, even approaching her daughters’ friends.
Where’s the outrage? Where are all the liberal bloggers once aghast at Republicans for making an issue of Michelle Obama? Too busy snooping around the family of Sarah Palin?
Please find below the jump the full text of the letter of Cindy McCain’s lawyer to Bill Keller of the Times:
Dear Mr. Keller:
I represent Cindy McCain. I write to appeal to your sense of fairness, balance and decency in deciding whether to publish another story about her. I do this well knowing your obvious bias for Barack Obama and your obvious bias hostility to John McCain. I ask you to put your biases and agendas aside.
I understand that Cindy is in the public eye, but you have already profiled her extensively (Jennifer Steinhauer reported), written about her financial situation (including an editorial on her tax returns) and about her role at Hensley and Company.
I am advised that you assigned two of your top investigative reporters who have spent an extensive amount of time in Arizona and around the country investigating Cindy’s life including her charity, her addiction and her marriage to Senator McCain. None of these subjects are news.
I am also advised that your reporters are speaking to Tom Gosinski and her cousin Jamie Clark, neither of whom are reliable or credible sources. Mr. Gosinski has been publicly exposed as a liar and blackmailer on the subject of Cindy McCain. Jamie Clark has very serious drug and stability issues and has failed in a number of attempts to blackmail Cindy. She is simply not credible.
In 1994, Mr. Gosinski drafted a civil complaint for damages claiming, among other things, that Cindy had defamed him with prospective employers after he was discharged from AVMT. Those allegations were utterly false. He was unable to produce any prospective employers and Cindy had not discussed his deficiencies as an employee with anyone outside of AVMT. Indeed, his termination was demonstrated to be appropriate and when he was let go, Cindy gave him severance pay. When confronted with this evidence, his lawyer resigned. Gosinski never filed the complaint in Court and could produce no evidence to support any of its allegations. He attempted to have Cindy pay him $250,000 in exchange for not filing the complaint. Cindy refused and made his attempt to extort her public.
Thereafter, he amended his complaint to allege that Cindy asked him to commit perjury in the adoption proceed involving Bridget McCain. The notes of Cindy’s counsel and the official transcript of the adoption proceedings clearly demonstrate that Gosinski’s was never asked to lie and did not falsely testify in the proceeding. His allegation was an utter fabrication. Gosinski further alleged that Cindy used his name to obtain pain killers for her own personal use. The records of AVMT show that Dr. Max Johnson, licensed by the DEA to order drugs, directed the use of employee names on the prescriptions. The drugs obtained using Mr. Gosinski’s name were used and donated on an AVMT trip to El Salvador. They were not used by Cindy.
These allegations and efforts to hurt Cindy have been a matter of public record for sixteen years. Cindy has been quite open and frank about her issues for all these years. Any further attempts to harass and injure her based on the information from Gosinski and Clark will be met with an appropriate response. While she may be in the public eye, she is not public property nor the property of the press to abuse and defame.
It is worth noting that you have not employed your investigative assets looking into Michelle Obama. You have not tried to find Barack Obama’s drug dealer that he wrote about in his book, Dreams of My Father. Nor have you interviewed his poor relatives in Kenya and determined why Barack Obama has not rescued them. Thus, there is a terrific lack of balance here.
I suggest to you that none of these subjects on either side are worthy of the energy and resources of The New York Times. They are cruel hit pieces designed to injure people that only the worst rag would investigate and publish. I know you and your colleagues are always preaching about raising the level of civil discourse in our political campaigns. I think taking some your own medicine is in order here.
I ask you to let Cindy McCain carry on in her usual understated, selfless and dignified way. The fabrications and lies of blackmailers are not fit to print in any newspaper but particularly not in The New York Times.
John M. Dowd
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP