Eliot Spitzer's troubles offer an interesting unfolding case study in the way the media handles an embarrassment by a prominent Democrat. Clay Waters of Timeswatch monitored how the Gray Lady dithered yesterday with the revelation it broke:
News broke Monday afternoon linking New York's crusading Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer to a prostitution ring in Washington, and in a mild surprise (considering past behavior), the Times was actually forthright in identifying its home state governor as a Democrat. The original online story made clear Spitzer's party affiliation in the third paragraph. But that paragraph, which suggested hypocrisy on a Democrat's part, was deleted in an update after Spitzer's press conference, not referencing Spitzer's party until the fifteen paragraph, and even then barely. (Update: A party reference has now been added back in to the online story, again in the third paragraph.)
It is not too hard to imagine the kind of process that went on at the Times, as someone acted to minimize the pain to the Democrats, and then someone else pointed out that it might, uh, look a little bad, considering how badly the paper bungled its hit job on John McCain and the lobbyist, and how people tend to notice these shenanigans.
Ken Shepherd at NewsBusters has collected more media examples of the Guess Spitzer's Party game here.
Hat tip: Larwyn, Ace http://ace.mu.nu/archives/257482.php