Spitzer and the Media
Slate's Jack Shafer is justifiably upset with Kimberly Strassel's Wall Street Journal op-ed, "Spitzer's Media Enablers."
. . . from the start, the press corps acted as an adjunct of Spitzer power, rather than a skeptic of it. Many journalists get into this business because they want to see wrongs righted. Mr. Spitzer portrayed himself as the moral avenger. He was the slayer of the big guy, the fat cat, the Wall Street titan -- all allegedly on behalf of the little guy. The press ate it up, and came back for more.
There's some truth to this, but Shafer's points outs that the articles on Eliot Spitzer cited by Strassel weren't as puffy as she implies in her piece. (Actually I think that Spitzer's reputation as a dragon-slayer was way overblown, as I pointed out in Wall Street Versus America, and I have pointed out many times that his pursuit of Dick Grasso was a waste of his office's resources, but that is another story.)
The Strassel column struck me as odd for another reason. The "enablers" she cites were actually situated in her own newspaper. The Journal was a beneficiary of many Spitzer leaks.
I think David Weidner's article in Marketwatch, also operated by Dow Jones, does a better job of laying out the issues and of noting the Journal's role as a beneficiary of Spitzer leaks (though Weidner may have gone a bit too far in his depiction of an ex-Journal reporter, as this response points out).
© 2008 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.