What’s Wrong in the Standard

I’ve written previously about how articles about New York politics in national publications often are inaccurate. This week’s Weekly Standard hit job on Elliot Spitzer is another fine example.

Leaving aside the omission from the article of the fact that Siegel’s son was a top official of Tom Suozzi’s campaign, I assume that the mind-numbing details in the article about Spitzer’s misdeeds in using his father’s money to further his political career are accurate. Though the stuff they get wrong does make me wonder.

Some examples – Siegel & Goodwin cherry pick poll results to make it appear that Spitzer is finished –

An astonishing 80 percent of respondents tell pollsters they want the governor to testify under oath to prove his claim that he had nothing to do with "troopergate,"

They don’t report the same poll had 66 percent saying he was a good leader for the state and 58 percent said they view him as a new kind of independent politician.

Siegel & Goodwin give a remarkably wrong account of Spitzer’s first victory as Attorney General in 1998 claiming that he was on a clear path to victory over AG Dennis Vacco until stories about his father’s secret financing of his campaign –

gave Vacco a lift, but it was not enough to stem the partisan tide in a strong Democratic year that saw Chuck Schumer defeat incumbent senator Al D'Amato by 10 points.

The truth was that not a single public poll ever showed Spitzer ahead in that campaign and his narrow victory was a major upset. And the year wasn’t as strong for Democrats in New York as they assert. Schumer’s 10 point win over D’Amato was dwarfed by Republican George Pataki running at the TOP of the ticket who beat Democrat Peter Vallone by 21 points!

In writing about this year’s budget battle Siegel & Goodwin write something else that will surely appeal to the Standard readers –

His first budget, despite repeated promises not to raise taxes, did just that.

Not true – as bad as the budget was, it did not raise taxes.

Siegel & Goodwin also incorrectly report that –

the state ethics commission, which Spitzer controls

Actually of the 5 appointees to the Commission, Spitzer appointed 2.

But there is a sentence in such contradiction to anything Siegel & Goodwin have written for New York readers it makes me wonder about their intellectual honesty –

With Democrats holding a huge edge in the Assembly, and its leader intimidated by Spitzer into submission on virtually every issue, Bruno is all that stands between Spitzer and effective control of all three branches

Think about that. Two observers of New York politics write that Shelly Silver has been forced tp go along with Elliot Spitzer! Has anybody written anything more ridiculous?

I rest my case.