Gov. Paterson Blasts Times, Pundits Echo Frustration
Either deliver the story or squash the scandal-mongering
Now on Day Six, commentators are getting impatient for the rumored New York Times scoop on New York Governor David Paterson. (In the absence of hard reporting, they've been left to guess everything from PG-13 financial sins to a full-blown sex-scandal.) Paterson is impatient, too--in a strongly worded letter from his secretary, he tells the Times to dismiss rumors, while admitting its right to publish a profile "as searing and critical as the facts might justify." The Times only gave a coy response, building pundit frustration, with a few even offering muted support for the embattled governor.
- 'J'accuse Letter,' Glenn Thrush calls the Paterson's message to The New York Times, thus comparing it to the famous public missive from Émile Zola about the Dreyfus Affair in 1898. While remaining neutral, he calls it "extraordinary ... essentially accusing the paper of doing nothing to counter the firestorm of speculation over its highly anticipated profile of him."
- This is the New Journalism "It's like some terrible game of media Telephone," mutters Glynnis MacNicol at Mediaite. She welcomes readers to "the new, new journalism where even the New York Times editorial board is forced to go meta. Seriously meta ... Snake eating its own tail, etc."
- Give Paterson Credit "You certainly can't say he's boring," remarks Domenico Montanaro at MSNBC's First Read. He reviews a statement in which the governor rejects resignation, saying the only way he'll leave office before his term is over is "in a box." Richard Brownell at the usually conservative FrumForum agrees:
Paterson deserves credit for his moxie if nothing else. He soldiers on in the face of dismal approval ratings, an obstinate if not wholly hostile state legislature, and even a Democratic White House that just wishes he would go away. This latest rumor about Paterson's early exit only compounds the issue. The Governor himself openly mused about its source, and one can’t help but wonder if political enemies are trying to hasten his exit from the public stage.
- Why Is the Times Reporting Rumors About Their Reporting? Politico's Ben Smith identifies an "arch little item without a byline" in the Times, which includes a "jab at Paterson" for attacking the paper for "not formally tackling the issue of the story everyone is talking about that doesn’t exist." Another Politico colleague, Michael Calderone, reasonably points out that soon the hype will reach a level unsurpassable by the actual story.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.