If you are in New York take a look at the May 10-12 New York Sun. There you will see how a high-grade editor informs the public and ventilates the issues of the day whether the pols want them ventilated or not. On today, Friday’s, front page the Sun depicts in vivid colors the sketch of an apprehensive Governor George Pataki furtively reading the Washingtonian wrapped in the New Yorker. Beneath the drawing is written “Just What Is the Governor Thinking as His Campaign Gets Going? Page 6.” And turning to page 6 we read a thunderous editorial questioning the Guv’s eight years in office and intentions for the future. Nearby are two columnists dilating on the editorial’s points.
Saturday Governor Pataki declares his candidacy for a third term. He ran initially as a conservative. He opposed such Liberal sclerosis as rent controls. But as one of the Sun‘s columnists points out, Pataki has slipped back towards the left. Quoting a former Pataki aide, columnist Harry Siegel notes: “if any Democrat had his positions he’d be called a liberal Democrat.” Siegel proceeds to remind readers of the tough race a liberal Republican will have against a liberal Democrat in New York. He goes on to cite the conservative campaign promises Pataki has tergiversated upon, and by the end Pataki’s chances of winning a third term are open to doubt.
Now this is what a newspaper is supposed to do, stir up debate; and Sun editor Seth Lipsky did it by picking up on a line the Prowler has been advancing here for weeks, to wit, Pataki’s interest in getting out of New York and into a high-level position in the Bush Administration. I told Lipsky about this. He encouraged me to columnize on it. Then he added his knowledge of Pataki’s ideological waywardness to his knowledge of Pataki’s weariness of the governorship, and Sun had one of the most interesting and original political stories in weeks.
I have not spent much time in my journalistic life in daily journalism. It really is enlightening and stimulating. I say in the weeks ahead watch the rise of the New York Sun. It ought to be on the Internet for us all to relish.