McCain's Special Lobbyist Friend Drops Suit Against Times, Wins Mealy-Mouthed 'Editor's Note'

Terrible news: possibly McCain-sexing lobbyist Vicki Iseman has dropped her lawsuit against the New York Times. Turns out it's not actionable to report on someone's possibly unethical relationship with a public figure!

Here is your background: Iseman was a lobbyist who was really flirty with McCain and some staffers thought their relationship was maybe a sex relationship though the Times certainly never reported that it was, just that some staffers thought it looked like that! And they put that story in a bigger, more boring (but more "newsworthy") story about how McCain will do any damn thing a lobbyist wants if he feels like he is friends with that lobbyist, even though he's Mr. Maverick.

So Iseman waited a couple months and sued for defamation to the tune of $27 million, which, hah, like the Times has $27 million! Does she want a floor of their building maybe? Turns out, no—she dropped the suit.

First the Times sent out an internal memo that is crowing about how they didn't have to "apologize" or "retract one word of the story," but here is an editor's note about it:

An article published on Feb. 21, 2008, about Senator John McCain and his record as an ethics reformer who was at times blind to potential conflicts of interest included references to Vicki Iseman, a Washington lobbyist. The article did not state, and The Times did not intend to conclude, that Ms. Iseman had engaged in a romantic affair with Senator McCain or an unethical relationship on behalf of her clients in breach of the public trust.

We'll point out that the note, like the original story, ends with an implied "WINK WINK" but still. Apology or no (and they insist, NO apology), Iseman's lawyers get a statement on the website. So really there are some concessions they made to this woman, who sued them for printing something that is probably true.