Roger Kimball analyzes the NYT’s formula for McCain hit pieces:
1. Prissy introductory sentence or two noting that Mr. McCain has a reputation [read “unearned reputation”] for taking the ethical high road on issues like campaign finance reform.
2. “The-Times-has-learned” sentence intimating some tort or misbehavior.
3. A paragraph or two of exposition that simultaneously reveals that a) Mr. McCain actually didn’t do anything wrong but b) he would have if only the law had been different and besides everyone knows he is guilty in spirit.
In the latest case, the “misbehavior” is that McCain sometimes rides on his wife’s plane, which saves him some money. The NYT concedes that this violates no campaign finance rules, but the FEC has considered changing the rules. That’s it.