From the coverage of the McCain scandal on the TV machine you'd think the issue here was the credibility of the New York Times. While it's true that the paper's credibility is severely diminished by its behavior on the Iraq war and other issues, four of its top reporters put their names on this story. They understand that in today's media landscape their credibility really is their top asset - so they didn't push this story lightly - they believe in it.
Calmer heads are looking into the relationship of McCain to Iseman and seeing if not a romantic relationship, then certainly a relationship of lobbyist to senator, a senator, by the way, who basically saved the lobbyist's company by changing his vote on a telecom bill after being lobbied by her.
So McCain has thrown down the gauntlet. He better be telling the truth, and he better hope that none of the Times' anonymous sources out themselves or add to the story. He also better hope the traditional media doesn't look into his history of taking money and advice from Washington lobbyists. If either of those things happen, he's toast.