Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

by Patricia Yarberry Allen, MD | bio

The New York Times is at it again. First it was Sen. Barack Obama and front-page questions about his youthful drug use. Today it is Sen. John McCain, above the fold with rumors that eight years ago he may or may not have had a romantic relationship with a female lobbyist.

Using this did-they-or-didn’t-they dance as an opener, the Times segues into McCain’s "official favor for a friend with regulatory problems" a decade earlier that got him caught up in the Keating Five scandal: "In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame."

This story about McCain’s ethical standards could have been written without the sex angle, but it would not have been nearly as catchy. Sex and rumor do sell.

I am surprised that the paper of record missed my romantic encounter with McCain. I met him at breakfast (was that just a ruse?) at the 21 Club more than a year ago. I was there as a guest of a friend and it was a very small group. 

For the record, I am a notorious flirt. Shameless. If there are no men around, I flirt with lampposts, just to stay in practice. I was seated one person away from McCain. I wore a winter-white boucle suit with the usual four-inch Manolos. It wasn’t the conservative black, brown or navy worn by the serious other women who were there, but it was completely appropriate.

I flirted with McCain before, during and after breakfast. He treated me courteously and could actually make eye contact, something many men are unable to do. I did not slip him my phone number, nor did any of his aides seem to worry that something was amiss. But, if the Times had hidden an investigative reporter with scum on his mind, I could have ended up on the front page above the fold.

So, a memo to the NYT: We, your readers, abhor this focus on the candidates’ personal lives. If we want rumor and smears and innuendo, we can read the Enquirer. Please find journalists who can outline the candidates’ plans for the many issues that are destroying our country and the quality of life of our citizens. Give us information that will allow us to choose intelligently. 

I remember the first time I read a copy of The New York Times. I was 19. I thought I had my hands on a copy of the Gutenberg Bible. I haven’t missed a day since then. But this faux journalism must stop or thoughtful readers will join the mass exodus from the paper for thoughtful news magazines in paper and online.

It now costs $1.25 for The Times here in New York City. That is just for the daily. Do the math — that’s $390 a year. Add to that $4 for the Sunday edition ($5 if you’re outside the city). It occurs to me that I could have another pair of Manolos for this.   

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