March 13, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

‘Shame & Shakeup’: N.Y. governor out; high-priced call girl in the news

“Felled by sex scandal,” New York’s governor resigned Wednesday. Eliot Spitzer’s acknowledged “private failings” appeared on front pages across the U.S. today. And so did the image of a 22-year-old aspiring singer.

“‘Kristen,’ a Jersey Shore girl, ends up at center of the mess,” The Star-Ledger of Newark said of the alleged high-priced prostitute hired by Spitzer. The Asbury Park Press in Neptune, N.J., printed photos from the woman’s MySpace page, and the NYC tabs introduced the woman identified by The New York Times. “Gov’s Girl,” the Daily News called her. “The gov’s beautiful hooker,” the New York Post said. In Toronto, New York’s neighbor, the Star devoted its space to “Spitzer’s Kristen: Broken home, big plans, scandal at 22.” The Washington Post took readers “Inside the Emperors Club” of which Spitzer was “Client No. 9.”

The New York Times devoted the top half of its page to the announcement by the Democrat: “Governor Found Himself on a Road with One Exit.” The lunchtime announcement gave editors time to consider presentation. The Times published a telling photo of Spitzer and his wife from the press conference. In dramatic designs, the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and The Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y., incorporated reverse headline type and nameplates into photos of Spitzer.

The Hartford (Conn.) Courant described the day’s news as: “Private Agony, Public Reckoning,” The religion writer for The Journal News of Westchester County, N.Y., examined “Lessons sought in moral mess.”

The Daily Gazetteof Schenectady looked at New York political history, which “sheds light on sex scandals.” The New York Times noted that Spitzer was the first governor of New York “to be forced out since William Sulzer was impeached in 1913 over a campaign contribution.” Compare today’s New York front pages with an Oct. 14, 1913, New York Press, which detailed testimony against Sulzer in a High Court of Impeachment in its left-hand column.

With Spitzer’s resignation, David A. Paterson assumes the role on Monday. From the state capital, the Times Union of Albany profiled Paterson, who will become the state’s first black governor: “New test in career forged by challenge.” Paterson is legally blind.

Newsday on Long Island summarized the story by picturing Spitzer (“No Deal” to be exempt from prosecution), Paterson (“New Deal”) and Spitzer’s wife (“Raw Deal”).

kkennedy@freedomforum.org Kate Kennedy is front-pages editor at the Newseum.

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