On Monday, the New York Times posted a deeply unserious article about the alleged effect of Anthony Weiner's latest transgressions on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign; it appears on today's front page. Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, who announced that she and her husband are separating, is Clinton's top aide. Under the home-page headline "Weiner's Texts Cast a New Cloud Over Clinton Campaign," Amy Chozick and Patrick Healy write:

Mr. Weiner’s extramarital behavior also threatens to remind voters about the troubles in the Clintons’ own marriage over the decades, including Mrs. Clinton’s much-debated decision to remain with then-President Bill Clinton after revelations of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Ms. Abedin’s choice to separate from her husband evokes the debates that erupted over Mrs. Clinton’s handling of the Lewinsky affair, a scandal her campaign wants left in the past.

Apparently everything reminds the Times of Monica Lewinsky, but I suspect that's the Times's problem, not Clinton's.

The article also gives full-throated voice to Donald Trump's absurd claim that the Weiner connection could somehow compromise national security because (I guess) Clinton could tell Abedin something that she might then pass along to Weiner. I don't follow the logic. Maybe it has something to do with the false and offensive claims promoted by Trump's allies that Abedin has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Times's story follows last week's story by the Associated Press on Clinton's meetings with donors to the Clinton Foundation during her time as secretary of state. As Matthew Yglesias ofVox and others have pointed out, the article was deeply flawed, and it was accompanied by a tweet that was flat-out false:

BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.— The Associated Press (@AP) August 23, 2016

But that didn't stop AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll from defending the story during an appearance on CNN's Reliable Sources. She also claimed the tweet was "sloppy," not false, and dismissed Twitter as promotional rather than as an abbreviated form of journalism. Seriously? It's all journalism. And many people no doubt saw the tweet but never read the article—especially since, contrary to Carroll's claim, the tweet did not include a link.

controversy has broken out as to why Clinton hasn't held a full-fledged, formal press conference in more than 260 days. I do think she needs to subject herself to tough, independent media scrutiny, though I don't believe a press conference is the only way she can do that. For years, though, the relationship between the media and the Clintons has been defined by mutual distrust and loathing.

The role of journalism is to hold the candidates to account in ways they may not like. But ludicrous stories such as those published by the Times and the AP are only going to harden Clinton's conviction that she has nothing to gain and much to lose by standing before—or sitting down with—members of the press.