In an October 28 article on Wal-Mart's decision to fire GOP strategist Terry Nelson, reportedly for his involvement in producing a controversial advertisement attacking Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN), The New York Times reported that Nelson "has worked for various Republican leaders, including President Bush and Senator John McCain of Arizona." In reporting that Nelson "has worked" for McCain, the Times obscured the fact that Nelson currently
works for McCain -- according to the Times the previous day.
According to the October 28 Times article:
Mr. Nelson has worked for various Republican leaders, including President Bush and Senator John McCain of Arizona. As a founder of Crosslink Strategy Group, he also consults for corporations. Mr. Nelson has helped recruit Wal-Mart's suppliers to join an advocacy group that trumpets its accomplishments and has overseen a program to register Wal-Mart employees to vote in Nov. 7 elections in part as a reaction to Democratic attacks against the company.
On October 27, however, the Times reported:
No Republicans wanted to take credit. When the identity of the producer, Scott Howell, emerged, Democrats quickly pounced on his history of bare-knuckled tactics and close relationship with Karl Rove as evidence of a familiar Republican approach.
And the incident quickly set off a wave of denials and denunciations from Republican officials, including the national party chairman and Senator John McCain of Arizona, who has hired Terry Nelson, another consultant affiliated with the spot.
As Media Matters for America noted, the October 27 article's claim that McCain offered a "denunciation" of the ad was inaccurate. The McCain spokesman the Times quoted simply said: "We're pleased that the ad has been pulled down."