Paterson: I Was Source. NYT: Nope

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For days, The New York Times exasperated bloggers by staying mum on hints of a huge David Paterson story. At last it dropped the bombshell that led to Paterson's announcement he will not run for re-election.

The story was a major scoop for the Times, and journalists are nothing if not protective of their scoops. They hate to have their investigative sleuthing cheapened by an offhand comment. So Paterson's remarks on a New York City radio show that he himself was the Times' key source (the salient part of the exchange is below) left a few reporters with very ruffled feathers.

In an awkward exchange filled with moments of uncomfortable silence, Gambling said the situation "might not have come out if we didn't have the press write the story about this, right?" Paterson responded, "No, that's actually not true, that's actually not true."

After a few seconds of silence, Gambling asked, "Ummm, why?" Paterson said, "Uh, well, I don't want to go into it but the person who informed others that there was such a conversation was me." Sounding surprised, Gambling asked, "You informed the news?" The governor said, "Correct. That's all I'm going to say about it. And it's not my surmise. It's an actual fact. But the individual who first made it clear that there had been a conversation was myself."

The Times wasted no time shooting down the governor, devoting 510 words to icing Paterson's claim, including one terse sentence of direct response.

His statement, however, is not accurate.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.