NON-STORY NON-COMMENTS….On a pure tribalism-backlash-unexpected-consequences level, I have to say that perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the John McCain non-affair story is the fast congealing conservative consensus that this will help McCain. After all, if the elite-liberal-America-hating New York Times is going after him, he can’t be all bad, can he? Apparently McCain finally found a way to appeal to the conservative base.

Also worth noting, just for the hell of it, is Times editor Bill Keller’s response when TNR reporter Gabriel Sherman called for comment:

This sounds like a pointless exercise to me — speculating about reporting that may or may not result in an article. But if that’s what Special Correspondents of The New Republic do, speculate away. When we have something to say, we’ll say it in the paper.

You know, if Keller doesn’t want to comment, that’s fine. It’s an internal matter. But he does work in the news business, and he really has no call to act as if Sherman is some kind of squalid guttersnipe just because Keller’s on the receiving end of some reporting instead of the other way around. He needs to get over himself.