The Daily News Stumbles on Nothing

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Daily News Stumbles on Nothing

Yesterday, the N.Y. Daily News published a story after an anonymous source gave the newspaper a copy of one of Rudy Giuliani's campaign strategy documents. According to the AP:
The paper said an anonymous source obtained the document after it was left behind on a campaign trip in 2006, but Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel claimed it was taken from a piece of airline luggage.

"This wasn't left in a hotel," Mindel told The Associated Press. "This is clearly a dirty trick."
I'm not sure why Mindel is so bent out of shape. Nothing I read in the various N.Y. Daily News (DN) stories struck me as surprising or particularly damaging in the least. Here are some of the "candid details" that the DN considered so newsworthy about the Giuliani "strategy" document:
DN: "A handwritten page list[ed] 'problems' that Giuliani could face ... (including his) association with disgraced former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik ... (his) breakup with ex-wife Donna Hanover and his marriage to Judith Nathan ... (and his) business interests and his views on 'social issues,' which are decidedly more liberal than most Republicans."
Nothing newsworthy there. The Giuliani campaign has simply identified the topics that his GOP adversaries will research and/or highlight as they compete for votes in the primaries.
DN: "Giuliani's aides have created an aggressive fund-raising schedule that sets a $100 million to $125 million 'baseline' goal for 2007 .... Borrowing a page from George W. Bush, Giuliani may categorize his top fund-raisers ... 'Team Captains' would bring in $1 million each, MVPs would bring in $200,000 each ..."
These tidbits are news? Giuliani wants to raise a boatload of money? So does every other candidate — and for good reason because modern campaigns chew through cash very quickly. And does the DN consider it an earth-shattering revelation that Giuliani may create new (and equally silly) names for his prime fundraisers?
DN: "Notes suggest his aides were more concerned about Giuliani's vulnerability than he would ever let on."
Gee, how shocking — a candidate publicly downplays his potential vulnerabilities. That never happens.
DN: The Giuliani document "contains a wish-list flow chart of 'prospective' key Republican backers" and suggests "recruiting family members of victims and survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks" to support his presidential bid.
Are either of these a surprise? The 9/11 tragedy dramatically raised Giuliani's stature among the American people — naturally, Giuliani would want to remind the nation of the role he played back then.

So who was the milquetoast DN editor to whom these reporters were able to sell such a non-story? In my (brief) newspaper days, I would have been too embarrassed to try pitching this non-story to an editor.

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