Here’s pretty much the last thing John McCain—who just today was excoriated by the Times for “running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism”—needs right now: the revelation that the 20-year-old female campaign worker who claimed to have been robbed by “by a black man” in Pittsburgh, and sexually assaulted and mutilated by said “black man” when said “black man” learned that she supported McCain—and whose tragic story of victimization got major play on Drudge this morning and was all the talk of the cable news shows—was making the whole thing up. Lovely.

Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.