What Is the One Thing the Times, the Post, and the News Can All Agree On?


My father used to tell me that you could tell everything you needed to know about a New Yorker by which newspaper he or she read. The Post readership consists of a blend of conservative reactionaries, gossip-lovers, and people who like a good hate-read; the Times was for those who actually like to learn something from the news and who are nimble enough to fold and read a broadsheet on the subway; and the News is for…well. I don’t know. Who reads the News? Hard to say, really. People who consider themselves too liberal for the Post, but not quite ready to tackle folding a broadsheet? But so anyway, the editorial boards of these three papers are so disparate that they rarely come to a consensus on anything—especially when it comes to political matters. Until now that is. They all agree on the same thing this election season, namely, that Eliot Spitzer is a liar who absolutely does not deserve the job of NYC comptroller.

This weekend, the three major New York newspapers all came out with endorsements for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in the race for New York City comptroller. This is the first comptroller race in recent memory that has resulted in front page endorsements from both the Post and the News, but, well, we’re living in extraordinary times, you guys. The endorsements from all three papers were not only supportive of Stringer’s solid career in public service, but were also strong condemnations of Spitzer and the hubris he must possess to have decided to run for this office in the first place.

The Times (as could be expected) was the most measured in its language, but still managed to throw in a few barbs at the former governor, stating, “Spitzer entered the race at the last minute, seemingly for no reason except to thrust himself back into the limelight” and calling his time as governor “a dismal performance.” The Times used enthusiastic language to support Stringer, writing, “Scott Stringer has done an outstanding job as Manhattan borough president” and ending the editorial with this emphatic endorsement: “Mr. Stringer has been effective in every political job he’s had, and we have every reason to expect that to continue if he is elected comptroller, as he should be.”

The News was much more colorful in its endorsement, flat-out calling Spitzer, “a cheat and a liar” and saying that the “ex-governor…hopes to waltz in on nerve and notoriety.” About Stringer, the News invokes the kind of language that is frequently used, citing his “word has been rock-solid and he has worked diligently for advancement.”

And now for the wild card among these three papers. The Post has rarely (if ever) been involved in endorsing a candidate for the Democratic nomination for city comptroller, but even its editorial board couldn’t resist trying to take Spitzer down, calling him “unhinged” and saying “Spitzer’s goals in office have always been less about serving the people’s interest and more about feeding his insatiable ego, his giant ambitions and his basest appetites.” The Post is somewhat measured in its endorsement of Stringer, writing, “Ordinarily, the New York Post would not be thumping for a candidate whose other endorsements range from the teachers union and the Working Families Party to Gloria Steinem.” However, they acknowledge “Stringer is a sober, honest man who understands how the city works and how important the job of comptroller is.” Which, for the Post is as ringing an endorsement of a liberal that any of us will ever read.

The primaries are September 10, just over two weeks away. Spitzer still leads Stringer in the polls by a fluctuating margin, but one that still hovers at around 17%. Hopefully, these provocative and timely endorsements will lead to a huge Democratic turnout of voters who are interested in doing the best thing for New York City, voters who will do everything to make sure that Scott Stringer will be the Democratic candidate in the general election this November. The Post asserts that this election is important because “these are not ordinary times, and this is no ordinary election.” And we have to agree. If all three NYC newspapers can come together to support the same candidate? You know that things are crazy. It’s madness. What’s next? Human sacrifice? Dogs and cats living together? Mass hysteria? We don’t want that, do we? Vote Stringer.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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