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The Grey Lady must show her cards

So The New York Times accused senior John McCain campaign aide Rick Davis of being a paid lobbyist for a company, and still being on the payroll on the company’s Freddie Mac account, right up to last month, just before the mortgage lender was nationalised. The Grey Lady, on who the McCain campaign declared war on Tuesday, based its accusation on oral information it got from sources who remained anonymous.

Oral info? Anonymous sources? Three of them Democrats, one Republican…? I’m a reporter myself, by trade. And this is what I call ‘skating on thin ice’.

Today, Team McCain blasts the Grey Lady, and categorically denies the story, and — what’s more — it says it can prove that the newspaper of record is wrong. It also calls out the newspaper, demanding that it show the world its evidence.

Now, the people running The New York Times are not stupid. Or so I should hope. So I’m assuming that the editors feared that this would happen, and that they have documented evidence to back up their accusation, which they will publish within hours. Otherwise, one would think, they would never have published it.

So. Let’s hope, for the Grey Lady’s sake, that the editors weren’t stupid. Because if they botch this, they will have lost all credibility.