An article published on Feb. 21, 2008, about Senator John McCain and his record as an ethics reformer who was at times blind to potential conflicts of interest included references to Vicki Iseman, a Washington lobbyist. The article did not state, and The Times did not intend to conclude, that Ms. Iseman had engaged in a romantic affair with Senator McCain or an unethical relationship on behalf of her clients in breach of the public trust.
NYT Washington bureau chief Dean Baquet writes in a memo to his staff that this vindicates the original story. But if the NYT is now stipulating that not only was there no romantic relationship between McCain and Iseman (which was the barely concealed subtext of the original story), but that there was no "unethical relationship" either (which, after all, was the point of the story that served as the excuse for the salacious subtext), then I don't see how this is a victory for the Times. Libel laws being what they are, there was almost no way Iseman was going to win her suit. But I think the "Note to Readers" she extracted from the paper constitutes a pretty big victory for her.