Jodi Kantor, Political Correspondent for the New York Times has crawled down into the sewer trying to dig up dirt on Cindy McCain. (The link is NOT to Kantor's - and David M. Halbfinger's - story):
The newspaper had been working on a profile of Cindy McCain and sending reporters to Arizona and around the country to scoop up a story.
But the assignment heated up after NYT reporter Jodi Kantor sent a Facebook message to a 16-year-old schoolmate of the McCain family's daughter, Bridget.
Here's the message via Newsbusters:
September 29 at 7:21pm
I saw on facebook that you went to Xavier, and if you don't mind, I'd love to ask you some advice about a story. I'm a reporter at the New York Times, writing a profile of Cindy McCain, and we are trying to get a sense of what she is like as a mother. So I'm reaching out to fellow parents at her kids' schools. My understanding is that some of her older kids went to Brophy/Xavier, but I'm trying to figure out what school her 16 year old daughter Bridget attends-- and a few people said it was PCDS. Do you know if that's right? Again, we're not really reporting on the kids, just seeking some fellow parents who can talk about what Mrs. McCain is like.
Also, if you know anyone else who I should talk to-- basically anyone who has encountered Mrs. McCain and might be able to share impressions-- that would be great.
Thanks so much for any help you can give me.
New York Times
The McCain campaign responded, via Wizbang (my emphasis):
"Today the New York Times launched yet another in a series of vicious attacks on Senator John McCain, this time targeting not the candidate, but his wife Cindy. Under the guise of a 'profile' piece, the New York Times fails to cover any new ground or provide any discernible value to the reader other than to portray Mrs. McCain in the worst possible light. Though Mrs. McCain's battle with drug addiction and even her miscarriages are again reported, the paper entirely ignores a life devoted to family and charity work in the most impoverished and violent corners of the world -- except when a detail can be quibbled with so as to imply some kind of deceit. This campaign made every effort to share personal accounts of Mrs. McCain's good works with the paper, but apparently they were deemed unfit for publication in the New York Times. This is gutter journalism at its worst -- an unprecedented attack on a presidential candidate's spouse.
"In order to assemble this barrage of petty and personal attacks, the New York Times employed tactics that are obviously unprofessional and almost certainly unethical. This campaign has obtained a copy of an email sent by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor to a 16-year-old girl and friend of Bridget McCain, the youngest of the McCain children. Ms. Kantor sought to dupe the unsuspecting minor by soliciting 'advice' on how best to approach the story, as if a top-flight investigative reporter at the New York Times would need the assistance of an underage girl in writing a hit piece.
"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."
--McCain-Palin spokesman Michael Goldfarb
What's it like down there in the sewer Ms. Kantor?