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February 20, 2009

Vicki Iseman Settles with the N.Y. Times ... for an Op-ed? BUMPED
Also, N.Y. Times Suspends Dividends

Huh. Just huh.

Editor and Publisher says that Vicki Iseman, who was defamed by the N.Y. Times at the height of the presidential campaign has settled. Iseman sued the newspaper for $27 million dollars after it claimed that she had an "improper relationship" with John McCain.

What'd she settle for?

The settlement, which does not include any payment, retraction or apology from the Gray Lady, includes an agreement for the Times to post an online Op-Ed from Iseman's attorneys. Executive Editor Bill Keller will counter with his own Web essay.

Washington Bureau Chief Dean Baquet told staffers in a memo Thursday that the settlement essentially vindicates the Times' reporting, noting to them that "We paid no money. We did not apologize. We did not retract one word of the story, which was a compelling chapter in the tale of Senator John McCain and his political rise."

Talk about a fizzle. Click over to read Baquet's crowing letter to staffers about the "deep reporting, dozens of interviews and an abundance of caution" that led to the original article on Iseman's romantic connection to McCain.

Next-day Bump: The statement from Iseman's lawyers is here. A joint statement from the parties is here. Bill Keller's response is here.

It seems the center of their dispute and the reason they settled is because of the good old N.Y. Times v. Sullivan defamation standard.

Related: Okay, not really related to Iseman, but still connected. The N.Y. Times has suspended dividends on its securities. Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. cites the need for "financial flexibility" and an "uncertain business outlook."


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 09:12 AM

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