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Did The New York Times Smear John McCain?

The New York Times article Thursday implies Senator McCain had an inappropriate relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, perhaps romantically. McCain quickly denied any wrongdoing and criticized The Times.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MCCAIN: Obviously I'm very disappointed in the article, and it's not true. This is a very disappointing event, to pick up the paper this morning, actually, to hear last night that this story was going to be appearing after months of inquiries from The New York Times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Now, I have no idea what John McCain did or did not do. And according to The Times article, the paper doesn't know either. No direct charges of impropriety are lodged, only innuendo. And that is very, very wrong.

As with all people I report on, I'm willing to give Senator McCain the benefit of the doubt, because there is a doubt. If McCain and the lobbyist deny any wrongdoing, fair-minded people should believe them, unless there is evidence to the contrary. Disgracefully, NBC News has allowed its people to attack McCain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Is John McCain a hypocrite? This is not whether he had an illicit affair. It's whether he is a hypocrite. Did he have any kind of relationship — sexual, romantic, or otherwise — with a lobbyist that led him to do things that were improper?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Well, what's improper, sir, is even raising those kinds of questions, based on two anonymous sources, who according to The Times don't even like McCain. That's brutally unfair.

The key paragraph in The New York Times article is this: "Both [sources] said Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman. The two associates, who said they had become disillusioned with the senator, spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others."

What details? Acknowledged behaving inappropriately how? Those questions aren't answered by The New York Times. This is incredibly sloppy journalism, is it not? Come on.

Here's a guy running for president, and you're implying things that could ruin him? Based on what? If John McCain did indeed do something wrong, prove it. Have these anonymous people come out and lodge the accusation. Don't smear the man with innuendo.

Finally, consider this. The New York Times endorsed John McCain for the Republican nomination on January 25, less than a month ago. The paper had this article already in the works on that date. So why would The Times endorse McCain if he had acted inappropriately?

We asked that question to New York Times editor Bill Keller. He hasn't gotten back to us. We'll have a follow-up on it tomorrow.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

As you may have seen, a bunch of pinheads attacked the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, apparently angry that the United States, once again, is working for freedom in that part of the world.

American personnel defending the embassy are under heavy pressure. One person has already been killed. And of course, they are patriots. And we are watching the situation very closely.

On the pinhead front, he's back: Michael Moore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MOORE, FILM DIRECTOR: And I got some great news today. Because I was trying to figure out, you know, how am I going to get Castro into the Oscars? And, for me, he resigns today so he can come to L.A. and go as my guest, and perhaps give the acceptance speech.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Well, it's simply hard to believe that Mr. Moore admires a brutal dictator like Fidel Castro. And, thus, Moore is a pinhead, but we already knew that.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads and Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com

Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly