Off the Mark on Paterson Aide
In the first article, the NY Times attacks the Governor by attacking his aide, David Johnson. The article takes us through Johnson's ascendancy from juvenile legal troubles to driver for Senator Paterson to advisor to Governor Paterson. Sprinkled in the story is a discussion of how Johnson has had difficult break-ups with girlfriends and that police had been called as part of a break-up. They cannot cite any reliable evidence of domestic violence, but they choose to call the Governor a hypocrite for his support of Johnson and his denouncing of Senator Hiram Monserrate. There are no arrests, no active complaints, and nothing about which to write an article for the New York Times.
The whole approach is tabloid-style and not at all appropriate for the NY Times, which has a record as a legitimate source of news. In this instance, they examined an important person in public life (who is nearly 40 years old, by the way) and wrote an article asserting that his sealed juvenile record and girlfriend break-ups shed a bad light on the elected official that promoted him - shameful.
The Governor's response was on-target.
The New York Times has chosen to splash [David Johnson's] youthful offenses across the pages of its newspaper – even though the courts of our State have ordered them to be sealed. Mistakes committed during one’s youth are determined by law to be kept sealed for a reason – to give a young person a second chance at a productive life. I profoundly believe in this principle of redemption and giving young people a second chance.
The more recent allegations reported on by the Times would be extremely troubling if true – but the conclusions reached by the Times report are not supported by the facts. There is no independent evidence presented that would substantiate any claims of violence committed by David Johnson against a woman, a fact underscored by the absence of a single judicial finding that any such incident ever took place. I would caution others from making a similar rush to judgment.
Swing and a Miss Part II
The New York Times had the same reporter who wrote the first piece of garbage take a second swipe at the Governor.
The second attack is a long article that is even more embarrassing to the NY Times than the first article and criticizes the Governor for paying for a $300 meal with campaign funds and for being asleep when a major plane crashed occurred in Buffalo at 10:20pm one evening. In their grasping at straws and groping in the dark for reasons to criticize the Governor, they revealed how little information they have in their possession that sheds a bad light on the Governor. Despite the Governor's low standing in the polls, it is difficult for his detractors to identify specific deficiencies.
Once again, the Governor summed up the situation quite well.
After weeks of expectations, and a circus-like atmosphere fed by the worst of Planet Albany, the New York Times article finally published today offers no explosive revelations about Governor Paterson. Despite a nasty and seemingly coordinated effort to attack the Governor based on nothing but rumor and innuendo, what we are left with is a profile of a sitting governor tackling historic challenges in a time of crisis for our State. It should not be news to anyone who has followed Governor Paterson’s fight to reform Albany and bring fiscal discipline to State government that the special interests and chattering classes are opposed to his efforts. These attacks will not stop Governor Paterson from standing up to the special interests and fighting for the people of New York.
If the poor quality of journalism and lacking integrity of these two articles represent the future for the NY Times, we have a great deal to mourn. After more than a century as an example of quality journalism, the New York Times appears to have given in to the pressure from to become a tabloid, lower its journalistic standards, and participate in biased attacks on individuals in public life.
One wonders where the New York Times finds the flexibility to ignore Bloomberg's million dollar gift to the Independence Party (the nearly $1 million payment Mayor Bloomberg made to the Independence Party during last year's campaign has been accounted for as being received by an entity that didn't exist until after election day) and write two long articles attacking the Governor for an aide's youthful mistakes and the Governor's good taste in Manhattan restaurants.