February 17, 2010

The NYT big story about New York Governor David Paterson — focusing on his "closest confidant" David Johnson — is pretty much of a fizzle.

But what's the big deal here? He rose quickly, there are 2 felony drug arrests that date back to his teen years, and there were 3 "altercations with women, two of which led to calls to the police." And:
Some heads of significant government agencies have said they feel they have to go through Mr. Johnson, often known as D. J., to get to the governor. And several current and former administration officials said that Mr. Johnson’s dressing down of the governor’s Washington office in September contributed to the departure of several seasoned people from the office.

“I started getting messages from D. J. telling me to call certain players in my industry,” said one former official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing the governor.

Mr. Johnson, the official said, started to manage administration press conferences, dictating the order and seating of speakers and calling agencies to request they draft statements on particular issues.

“We were all quite surprised about D. J. taking more of a policy role,” another former official said. “It seemed like it was a long way to come in a short period of time for a guy who had been the governor’s wing man.”
Is this the big exposé we've been hearing about? Saturn Smith says:
See, this piece was supposed to be a whopper... It was supposed, over the past two weeks, to be The Story that was going to force New York's inefficient, disorganized governor into becoming the second governor in a row to resign....

... I'm kind of hard pressed to do much more than give a cheer for a guy who has risen from being twice arrested for drug crimes as a teenager in in early-90s Spanish Harlem to being the closest aide of New York's governor....

So then, the big deal here must be the behavior towards women. And yes, it might be appalling. You can kind of sense that the New York Times wanted to just write, THIS IS APPALLING. Unfortunately, they were unable to do so....

The Times is trying to show a pattern of behavior without anything to go on but the word of one witness against the word of several others....

There's an extended section in the middle that is comprised almost completely of strange, neutral quotes about Johnson and how he's recently been seen to take over -- ably -- management of many political and even policy-oriented tasks. No one is quoted saying anything blatantly negative about Johnson's influence in the entire 2,175 word piece....

The piece then charges forward with some stunningly sour-grapes sounding quote...
Was there more to this story that wasn't fit to print?

28 comments:

Pogo said...

So the Governor found his own Rahm Emanuel.


I am shocked, shocked, to find that use of gatekeepers and enforcers is going on in New York!

lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lucid said...

The NYTimes has become the mouthpiece for the political views of Pinch Sulzberger's circle of friends. The funny thing is how many left/libs just swallow the malarkey whole and then think they have been well-informed.

The Times is in the process of fading away in a historical realignent in the world of media.

It is not what it was and never will be again.

traditionalguy said...

The article is the literary mode of photo shopping the Governor to de-glamorize him. Look how weak he must be to use a consigliere type aide de camp. Why, only a mere mortal would look that way...and Democrats say we are are entitled to super heroes like JFK from the Magical Kingdom of Camelot, and The One from the Magical Kingdom of noble African American redistributers from Harvard. The NYT sells its illusions to the weak minded readers of modern political fairy tales saying, "See, see Paterson is only a commoner and not a Magic King as Governor , therefore he should resign."

LoafingOaf said...

It's pretty easy for a young man to catch a drug felony case in some neighborhoods. Barack Obama could've easily caught a case himself in his youth. People ought to think about that when we evaluate (or re-evaluate) which types of offenses we deem felonies and which are just misdemeanors, because felonies on one's record can really cripple a person's opportunities.

TheCrankyProfessor said...

Governorgate - FAIL!

Gosh after all the hinting and hype that's much less impressive than the iPad.

Joaquin said...

After reading the whole thing, my first thought was: THAT'S IT!

Hoosier Daddy said...

It's pretty easy for a young man to catch a drug felony case in some neighborhoods.

Yes because as we all know, catching a drug felony is damn near as common as catching a cold.

Barack Obama could've easily caught a case himself in his youth.

Really? Never pictured Honolulu has being a drug ridden locale.

raf said...

The Times is in the process of fading away in a historical realignent in the world of media.

It is not what it was and never will be again.


I'm not sure that it ever was 'what it was.' It just used to be better at it.

Comrade X said...

I was denied a professional license for bouncing a $1 check 15 years earlier when I was 19 (misdemeanor). Many months and $20,000 in legal fees later I was finally granted a license by the state.

This guy is a convicted felon drawing $132,000 a year salary from the taxpayers. He wouldn't be allowed to be licensed in my profession, but he can work for the state that issues those licenses. Amy Bishop wouldn't have passed a background check to work in my profession either, but she was good enough for the state.

Comrade X said...

BTW, I'm glad this guy turned his life around. I'm just noting that many state employees can't live up to the standards they impose on the private sector.

Scott said...

"I was denied a professional license for bouncing a $1 check 15 years earlier when I was 19"

What kind of license? I think that's relevant, although bouncing a $1 check is pretty trivial. Then again, some states are pretty draconian about check bouncing. A cousin of a friend did prison time for bouncing checks in South Dakota.

As for Paterson: I like the guy. If I lived on the other side of the Hudson River, I would vote for him, even though he's a Democrat.

Comrade X said...

What kind of license? I think that's relevant

I prefer not to say. What kind of license do you think that it merits a lifetime ban from?

Charlie Martin said...

Really? Never pictured Honolulu has being a drug ridden locale.

I remember being young enough that I didn't think of collage age as being "youth".

Dewave said...

If that's the 'big story' I'm not surprised Paterson refused to resign.

I thought that his not resigning in the face of a huge scandal would help Republican chances, but this isn't even a huge scandal.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I remember being young enough that I didn't think of collage age as being "youth".

Well in our ever changing society, youth seems to be redefined upward :-)

Then again, exposure to drugs on campus isn't restricted by social class.

Scott said...

"I prefer not to say. What kind of license do you think that it merits a lifetime ban from?"

Hairdressing. They should be subject to random drug tests as well.

Seriously, if you were going to be a CPA, or were going for a registered rep or broker-dealer license in the securities industry (Series 7 or similar) then I would hope they would keep habitual check bouncers away.

Peter V. Bella said...

Last week Paterson demanded that the NYT investigate itself over the proposed article. The original article was to expose, among other things corruption and the luv govs other life. He claimed it would be an inaccurate hatchet job.

Evidently, the NYT did some "soul" searching and decided that solidarity with the Party trumps journalism.

So they just trashed his aid.

Why is the Times going bankrupt again?

Jim said...

Let's see:
1. Felony drug violations
2. Violence against women

This isn't even getting poor David Johnson into the top five of the Kennedy's and it makes the NYT? Wisconsin Tourism Federation?

JRB

Peter V. Bella said...

Um, loafingoaf, it was not just a drug felony. It was selling drugs. But, hey, if you are a believer in the new economy, knock your socks off.

As far as I am concerned, drug dealing should be a capital offense. They are selling death.

Skipper50 said...

NYT is running on fumes. May the old grey lady rest in peace.

cokaygne said...

The slow death of the times is troubling to me.

I started reading the Sunday NYT almost 6 decades ago when I delivered papers and had to use a cart to haul those big papers up the long sloping driveways of the wealthier people. Later, when I was attending college in NYC, I read the NYT every day on long subway rides. It was my education and window on the world away from the parochial confines of a working-class Irish existence.


The Times has two problems. One is economic, and I blame myself in part for that one. Like millions of others I read the NYT free on line. I don't subscribe because I don't like to pay for what is free, it would probably arrive a day or two late where I live, and I hate dealing with tons of messy ink-stained paper. The second problem and now a major contributor to the first problem is poor quality.

If the quality of the NYT's journalism had not deteriorated so much in recent years, it might win some subscribers who consider it worth the price, but not now. The hit piece on Paterson, about whom I know nothing except that he is a blind African-American who took over when the previous governor had to resign in a sex scandal, would be embarassing if it stood alone. Unfortunately, it follows the NYT's non-coverage of the serious sexual escapades and blatant lying about it of the man whom it supported for vice president of the US, and its non-coverage of the implosion of the scientific "consensus" about global warming as reported in British media such as the BBC and the Guardian. Before that, there was the NYT's hit job on McCain by alluding to a non-existent affair between McCain and a lobbyist. During the same campaign the NYT also falsely trashed Sarah Palin, someone else whom I'd hate to see as VP but whose personal life seems to be examplary by retailing rumors about her. Believe me, no small part of Palin's appeal, despite her weak or nonexistent qualifications, is due to the vicious attacks on her family by liberals and the media.

The NYT seems to have no journalistic standards left. I'll still read it for free, but won't miss it when it goes behind a pay wall.

Trooper York said...

I find it hard to believe that Governor Patterson is blind to what is going on.

William said...

If you connect the dots before the crime, you are guilty of profiling.....I myself was guilty of a small crime in my youth. I tried to play a practical joke on my brother but it went horribly awry. Horse play and chain saws are a volatile combination. Believe me, I bore no malice towards my little brother, Stumpy, even though he hogged all of Mommy's love. It was just one of those things....Fortunately, the DA saw my side of the story, and charges were not pursued. I have gone on to lead a useful, productive life as a weapons designer at Oak Ridge. I have some residual guilt about the after effects of this horrible accident, but I study the Koran and hope someday to find the mercy of Allah.

Comrade X said...

slappin' ho's and cappin' fools. what's the problem?

Mark said...

When was the last time the NY Times broke a story that didn't involve some State/Justice/Defense Department apparatchik backstabbing a Republican President or propagandizing for a Democratic one?

The times has become an organ, and not a particularly clean one.

Duscany said...

I don't know that the NY Times ever claimed to be writing a major investigative piece that would take down Patterson. He in fact was the one going around in the weeks before publication claiming they were doing this all-out hatchet job on him.

In his paranoia, he imagined the piece to be bigger and more damaging than it really was.

Even so, when he fails to be re-elected he can forever blame the New York Times. This way he doesn't have to face the real problem--as governor he's a cipher. If only Spitzer hadn't resigned over something as trivial as a dalliance with a prostitute.

Khakjaan Wessington said...

Fanfare for the Common Crook [Today's News Poem, March 3, 2010]

http://toylit.blogspot.com/2010/03/fanfare-for-common-crook-both-movements.html

“Mr. Johnson also attended the World Series game in question and was involved in soliciting the tickets from Yankees officials. The tickets, with a face value of $425 each, were for seats a few rows behind home plate.”
--Nicholas Confessore, and David M. Halbfinger, The New York Times, March 3, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/nyregion/04paterson.html?hp

“For the second time in two days, Racine police arrested a shoplifter who went on the attack when confronted by store personnel... Reports said the 23-year-old security guard watched Budner take the $179 coffee maker and then walk past the last point of purchase at JCPenney Tuesday just after 6 p.m. The guard told officers he chased Budner, who fled out the northwest doors of the store, across the parking lot into the Applebee's restaurant parking lot. ”
--MARCI LAEHR TENUTA, The Journal Times, March 3, 2010 12:46 pm
http://www.journaltimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_5454bf0e-26f5-11df-b45c-001cc4c03286.html

I) A Fine Distinction
Accusing me of being high? I'm low!
And lower all the time. So what? I took
A piece of crap. It wasn't worth much dough.
You treat me like another sort of crook!
Just look at David Patterson. He stole
From New York state enough to burn in hell:
Indulging him because he rode a poll
And throwing desperates like me in cells
Because confusing rules of theft and gift...
I will admit my ignorance of laws.
I might not know the proper ways to sift;
To play the legal code and use its flaws
But isn't there a code all thieves can use?
To see what is legit and what's abuse?

II) Why the River Lethe
A puff of weed destroys the pain
Of traumas pent within the brain.
A snort of coke for richer folk
Will lace a harshness in their jokes.
With both, a drug is just the means
By which they glimpse at better scenes.
We own whatever we obtain.
Since loss is pain, we must sustain
Our gains—though loss is life's great crux,
We stave its rush with lots of bucks.

We yearn and so we die in bits
And bored to death between the scares
We drink whatever gives us fits:
As life denies us, takes our wares

In increments too small to note—
A tiny death by desk: a rote
And wearing task of paper null.
This prison has no outer hull:
Its bars are codicils of ink,
And lawyers form its monied links.
And when another fucker's crashed
And tossed in bins as if he's trashed
He'll seek that perfect cup of joe
He has an image he must show

The world: that he loves only pleasure—
Or fears life's pain: they've equal measure.