One side to every story

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Politico's Ben Smith, in response to Obama campaign complaints that the New York Times as inadequately covered John McCain's involvement in the Keating Five scandal:

The Keating Five scandal, though, is hardly a secret. Indeed, the story is central to McCain's political narrative. He's called his actions a mistake, and the episode is what transformed him into a self-stylled reformer.

"He has basically dedicated his career since that moment to the cleaning up of Washington," McCain aide Douglas Holtz-Eakin told me last week.

Smith says the Keating Five scandal is well-known -- and points to McCain's spin on it as evidence. But that doesn't contradict the argument that McCain's actual relationship with Keating (as opposed to the pro-McCain spin that the incident turned him into a reformer bent on "cleaning up" Washington) -- it reinforces it.

If there's a clearer example of the media's continued failure to subject McCain to the level of scrutiny they've given to Obama's relationships with Tony Rezko and Rev. Wright, I don't know what it is. Reporters rarely bring up Keating unless it's to remind us that the incident turned McCain into the World's Greatest Reformer.

And yet when this is pointed out, Ben Smith says Keating isn't a secret -- hey, we know McCain's hand-picked "narrative" about it. What more could anyone ask for?

How about a version of the story that isn't McCain's own chosen "narrative"?

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