Monday, March 10, 2008

The NY Times, Spitzer and tomorrow

The NY Times today:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a person briefed on the federal investigation. …

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong,” said Mr. Spitzer, who appeared with his wife Silda at his Manhattan office. “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.”
The Times’ first mention of Spitzer’s party affiliation comes in the 15th paragraph:
Mr. Spitzer had a difficult first year in office, rocked by a mix of scandal and legislative setbacks. In recent weeks, however, Mr. Spitzer seemed to have rebounded, with his Democratic party poised to perhaps gain control of the state Senate for the first time in four decades.
That paragraph reads like: “It’s so sad. What will happen to the Democrats now?”

Here’s the last sentence of the Times’ story:
The Albany County district attorney is set to issue in the coming days the results of his investigation into Mr. Spitzer’s first scandal, his aides’ involvement in an effort to tarnish Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, the state’s top Republican.
That’s all the Times said about the growing scandal involving key Spitzer aides’ misuse of state police to try to smear Republican Bruno.

In contrast, included this in its Spitzer story:
But his stint as governor has been marred by several problems, including an unpopular plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and a plot by his aides to smear Spitzer's main Republican nemesis.

Spitzer had been expected to testify to the state Public Integrity Commission he had created to answer for his role in the scandal, in which his aides are accused of misusing state police to compile travel records to embarrass Senate Republican leader Joseph Bruno.
The Times should have said more about Spitzer and attempts to smear Bruno; and the information shouldn’t have been at the very end of its story.

The Times’ editors know tomorrow hundreds of newspapers will use its story: and millions of people who today can't name the governor of New York will form their first impressions of Spitzer. The Times also knows the editors at those papers are most apt to leave out of what they publish material placed near the end of its story and/or mentioned without background information.

The Times did report:
The man described as Client 9 in court papers arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, Emperors Club VIP, on the night of Feb. 13. Mr. Spitzer traveled to Washington that evening, according to a person told of his travel arrangements.

The affidavit says that Client 9 met with the woman in hotel room 871 but does not identify the hotel. Mr. Spitzer stayed at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Feb. 13, according to a source who was told of his travel arrangements. Room 871 at the Mayflower Hotel that evening was registered under another name.
But the Times’ story begged the question: why would Spitzer go all the way to Washington to meet a prostitute when there are so many places closer to Albany?

The NBC story gets at that:
Last week, federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed conspiracy charges against four people accusing them of running a prostitution ring that charged wealthy clients in Europe and the U.S. thousands of dollars for prostitutes.

The Web site of the Emperors Club VIP displays photographs of the prostitutes' bodies, with their faces hidden, along with hourly rates depending on whether the prostitutes were rated with one diamond, the lowest ranking, or seven diamonds, the highest. The most highly ranked prostitutes cost $5,500 an hour, prosecutors said.
Why didn’t the Times report that?

Now if it had been John McCain . . .

The Times’ story is here; NBC’s is here.


bill anderson said...

I saw Spitzer's press statement, and it was the height of arrogance. There is not a bit of contrition, despite the fact that Spitzer would have no problem prosecuting someone in his place if he were a rival politician.

The man has moved into the category of Nifongery.

Anonymous said...

Hey, doesn't Spitzer know he's a Democrat? All he has to do is say something like "This is a personal matter. I've been a very good Governor, so this doesn't count. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to get back to work for the people." Hell, it worked for Slick Willie. Willie was getting fellatio in the Oval Office and it didn't seem to matter to his party, so why is everybody so worked up about Spitzer dropping five G's on a hooker and having unsafe sex?
Tarheel Hawkeye

Ralph Phelan said...

bill anderson:

I think it's a not uncommon personality type among prosecutors.