The Daily Beast published an article today that generates doubt as to whether Sally Goldenberg, a City Hall correspondent for Capital New York, could be trusted by her readership in light of her relationship with Phillip Walzak, Mayor de Blasio’s Press Secretary. Undue criticism of or speculation into the private lives of professional women in the spotlight is unfortunately commonplace, and in the case of Sally Goldenberg, a woman in control of the spotlight, this has happened before. But it seems like Daily Beast writer Lloyd Grove is particularly hellbent on making the reporter’s relationship with Phillip Walzak “a thing.”
After reading an article like this, one wonders many things, but perhaps primarily whether or not any new information had come to light since Walzak and Goldenberg’s relationship was first written about? (I hesitate to say uncovered, because clearly, according to what Grove writes about a Facebook post from Goldenberg, she was not trying to hide the relationship). But the answer to that question is a resounding ‘no;’ Grove’s only new info is that he has managed to get in touch with Goldenberg’s boss, Josh Benson, and the de Blasio administration. But since neither Goldenberg’s nor Walzak’s superiors seem to have serious issue with the relationship, and de Blasio’s people have even put in place a “policy in which Walzak has no workplace contact with Goldenberg regarding her stories” to quell any suspicions, that hardly seems like a big reveal, instead it just seems like a classic case of nothing-new-to-see-here-guys, nitpicky gossip journalism. But Grove’s article commits sins that go well beyond just being boring.
If Goldenberg is indeed “a tough, resourceful, scoop-generating reporter,” as Grove writes, and one who has continued to deliver the same sort of work over the past year of her relationship with Walzak, and nothing has changed about her reporting since the relationship first came to light, then what reason is there to doubt her ability to maintain the same level of what we already know is good reporting, other than the fact that she’s a woman?
I wonder this, because throughout the article, Grove fails to dish out as much doubt to the other half in this relationship—the man half—save for a brief suggestion that during intimate “pillow talk” sessions, Walzak might be having “contact” with Goldenberg. LOL.
But seriously, if there’s any such risk that Goldenberg might, oh I don’t know get a better scoop than other reporters or something, as Grove implies, then isn’t there the equal risk that Walzak will leak information to Goldenberg? As a reporter, we understand why Grove might not be so worried about the latter scenario, but wait—wouldn’t being OK with Walzak leaking something logically lead Grove to be OK with Goldenberg running with the tip and going to press?
Perhaps even more ridiculous, when Goldenberg behaves as she normally would, and, like other reporters in her position, complains about the recent opacity invoked by de Blasio’s press staff when it comes to certain issues, Grove implies that “some” suspected the reporter of “trying to tamp down the inevitable speculation about the supposed advantages that her personal life brings to her work life.”
Excuse me, what? Basically, Goldberg’s pretty much condemned no matter what her actions, and will thus be subjected to what Grove understands as reasonable suspicion. In this view, there’s nothing she can do to absolve herself from the possibility that she’s conspiring with her boyfriend—whether it’s to cover up her supposed wrongdoing, which Grove suggests us cannot be far off, or to commit more of the wrongdoing that hasn’t even happened yet. It’s only a matter of time before Goldenberg, a woman, loses her cool and outs herself as being an unethical journalist.
Finally there’s Grove’s suggestion, revealed when he interviews Goldenberg’s boss, that Capital New York, should be made “to disclose Goldenberg [sic] relationship with Walzak—say, with a line attached to her stories.” (Our emphasis added) However, Goldenberg’s boss defended her and the publication’s decision to keep her on staff as the City Hall reporter, and said this was not likely to happen.
But Grove’s question reveals his belief that attaching a veritable scarlet letter to Goldenberg’s articles is a reasonable suggestion, something within the realm of reason—why else would Grove even ask Goldenberg’s boss this question?
Probably because he thinks Goldenberg’s career deserves an asterisk. All because she’s a woman.