Spin Cycle

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Rick Lazio, the GOP gubernatorial candidate fresh from Wall Street, just put in his own bid on the news-derivative market. His angle is that he clearly prefers to run against Gov. David Paterson, low in the polls, rather than Andrew Cuomo, strong in the polls. So he's issued this fairly insipid press release on the rumors about the New York Times doing a story that would in turn force the governor's resignation, which have fed speculation that becomes the story itself.

"The rumors about the Governor are a sad reflection of Albany politics. No public official deserves to be the subject of over a week of innuendo and nasty speculation. If the New York Times is working on or has a story then they should confirm or print it. If they do not, then they have an obligation to stop this rumor mongering right now. Common decency demands it."

 

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Nothing lost for Lazio in blaming the Times for the rumors about what its staff members may be researching -- he's unlikely to get the paper's endorsement anyway.

But what he calls for makes little sense. "If the NYT is working on or has a story then they should confirm or print it..." 

Right, Rick. But if they confirm it, wouldn't they print it? And doesn't that depend on what 'it' is?

"If they do not," he adds grandly, "then they have an obligation to stop this rumor mongering right now."

Let's see. "Rumor mongering." Does that mean the Times should stop asking questions about Paterson which may spur rumors outside its operation? Should the paper stop talking to tipsters? Does it mean the Times should find some way to shut down radio stations, the News, New York magazine and the Huffington Post so that those operations can't mention the rumors that the Times is working on, uh, something -- said in Albany to be anything from Paterson standing on the grassy knoll during the Kennedy assassination to accepting bags of cash from Kim Jung Il?

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Sentimentally, of course, the ex-Congressman from Brightwaters is correct: Nobody deserves to be the subject of unsubstnatiated slams. But if Lazio has evidence that someone other than the usual echo chamber of Albany Democrats and Republicans and lobbyists is "rumor-mongering," he should reveal it. Common sanity demands it.