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Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Count on the media to hop on a sinking ship

Editor’s Notebook: Count on the media to hop on a sinking ship

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From the McCaffrey Southern Command Center in Florida, it looks like most of the major daily newspapers (OK, putting “major” and “daily newspapers” in the same sentence these days is stretching it …) left in the Sunshine State are using their editorial pages to endorse the candidacy of overly tanned Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat-turned-sacrificial-lamb Charlie Crist for governor.

This as Ron DeSantis is cruising to re-election.

Reminds me of the time, back in my days as editor of the Journal Newspapers (RIP), when the staff at our Maryland papers, in a state of open rebellion against management (which ultimately did not work out well for them, let’s just say), opted to endorse Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for governor without telling anyone in the management ranks (myself included) about it beforehand. We read about it in the paper just like everybody else.

Rather than fire some people, as was his traditional go-to instinct, the publisher laughed it off.

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“Tell them, if they’re going to endorse a Kennedy, at least endorse a Kennedy who’s gonna win,” my boss chortled. And he turned out to be right on that, as Kennedy missed the gimme-putt that was her race for governor.

FUN TIMES IN ELECTION PHRASEOLOGY: The phrase “elect a clown, expect a circus” has been used in recent years in political circles, but let’s go back to the mid-1960s, when New York City voters elected John Lindsay as mayor in hopes (misplaced as they proved to be) that he would be up to the task.

Let’s just say Robert Moses was not impressed.

I’m re-reading Robert Caro’s “Power Broker,” which is an early-1970s takedown of that dominant figure in New York City (and state) life from the 1920s through the 1960s. But it also manages to take down a number of other targets, too, including the somewhat inept yet supremely arrogant Lindsay and his staff, who never quite figured out how power actually was wielded in New York.

As the grizzled old warhorse Moses — maybe the greatest bureaucratic in-fighter before Dr. Fauci — put it upon Lindsay’s election: “Elect a matinee-idol mayor, expect a musical-comedy administration.”

That about summed up Lindsay’s eight years in office, it seems. Of course, it was before my time.

— Scott McCaffrey

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