Do We Need To Know Any of This?

I have to admit that when I read this dissection of Cindy McCain’s personal and emotional life, my sole response was compassion for her, and even more disgust and contempt for John McCain than I already felt for him, on so many levels: his craven abandonment of the woman who stood by him for five and a half years while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, his choice to have an extramarital affair with and then to marry a very pretty, fabulously wealthy woman 20 years his junior, and finally the abominable way he has treated that woman — who, this article makes clear, adores him and would walk through fire for him.

I wasn’t initially thinking about the article itself, or asking myself why the New York Times felt it important that anyone outside Cindy McCain’s personal circle know these things about her life and the workings of her heart. I feel a bit ashamed that this thought did not immediately occur to me — did not, in fact, occur to me until I read Glenn Greenwald:

The New York Times today has a very strange, lengthy front-page story on Cindy McCain — by Jodi Kantor and David Halbfinger — dredging up some unpleasant episodes in the distant past of her private life without adding any new information, sprinkling some innuendo about the McCains’ long-distance marriage, analyzing her personality and health mostly with pure speculation, and just generally dissecting her private and emotional sphere for no apparent reason beyond idle voyeurism.  Some of the facts discussed are, I suppose, arguably relevant (her connection to the Keating Five scandal and how Washington scorned her as a result of McCain’s ugly treatment of his first wife), but the vast bulk of the article, while quite invasive, seems indistinguishable from lowly, rank gossip.
Who cares how many nights John and Cindy have spent together over the past couple of decades, or how affectionate they are with one another when sitting at home, or that — 15 years ago — she “was caught stealing drugs from her nonprofit organization to feed her addiction to painkillers,” or whether her 2004 separation from McCain was due (as she claimed) to a stroke, or whether their marriage is a union of convenience and business rather than true love, or whether she actually crossed into Rwanda from Zaire during a 1994 trip to help refugees, or how often his friends in DC interact with her socially? How is there a public interest in knowing any of that?

Glenn is right. The article doesn’t serve any public purpose at all. All it does is figuratively undress Cindy McCain in public, and that truly is disgraceful.

3 Responses to “Do We Need To Know Any of This?”

  1. DrGail says:

    I’m inclined to agree with you, of course, Kathy. Like you, I’m very sensitive to instances in which we see women treated differently from men, simply because they are women.

    But I would also point out (as either further condemnation of the NYTimes or in their defense; I can’t quite figure out which it is) that they ran very similar articles about Hillary during the primaries. What triggered the memory for me was the speculation about their marriage given the many nights they spend apart. (And, of course, in both cases the husbands are acknowledged adulterers. But I digress. I think.)

    Perhaps this is their way of achieving “balance”. Whether that’s despicable or the best that can be expected is unclear. Condemnation? Defense? I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder.

  2. Kathy says:

    Oh yeah, Glenn mentions that, too (about Hillary Clinton). I don’t think the article being published indicates the NYT is in the tank for either McCain or Obama; I just think it indicates that much of the time what the MSM thinks is “news” is really just Enquirer-style gossip intended to entertain or titillate readers.

  3. radical_Moderate says:

    I have long thought that Cindy McCain is an odd woman with “daddy” issues, however, I agree with you kathy, the stuff covered in the article is NONE of my business.

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