Times Eases Up on Disgraced NY Gov. Spitzer

The Times identified Spitzer as a Democrat in its initial story on his involvement in a prostitution ring, but deleted the reference later.

News broke Monday afternoon linking New York's crusading Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer to a prostitution ring in Washington, and in a mild surprise (considering past behavior), the Times was actually forthright in identifying its home state governor as a Democrat.

The original online story made clear Spitzer's party affiliation in the third paragraph. But that paragraph, which suggested hypocrisy on a Democrat's part, was deleted in an update after Spitzer's press conference, not referencing Spitzer's party until the fifteen paragraph, and even then barely. (Update: A party reference has now been added back in to the online story, again in the third paragraph.)

"Mr. Spitzer, a first term Democrat who pledged to bring ethics reform an end the often seamy ways of Albany, is married with three children."

But that paragraph suggesting hypocrisy on a Democrat's part was deleted in an update filed after Spitzer's press conference, replaced with this in paragraph 15:

Mr. Spitzer had a difficult first year in office, rocked by a mix of scandal and legislative setbacks. In recent weeks, however, Mr. Spitzer seemed to have rebounded, with his Democratic party poised to perhaps gain control of the state Senate for the first time in four decades.

The Times had effectively softened the blow against the disgraced governor.

Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters has collected more media examples of the Guess Spitzer's Party game here.