Carl Paladino: Bold New Experiments in Media-Bashing and Making Stuff Up

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 30 2010 9:09 AM

Carl Paladino: Bold New Experiments in Media-Bashing and Making Stuff Up

So here's the background. Carl Paladino, the GOP's surprise nominee for governor of New York, is either losing by a little or a lot to Andrew Cuomo. He took a hit this month when it was revealed that he had a daughter from an extramarital affair. His response, so far, has been to make an evidence-free accusation that Cuomo had "paramours" during his marriage to Kerry Kennedy -- a marriage that ended after she had an affair. Asked for evidence by the New York Post's dogged Fred Dicker, Paladino erupted.

"You're his stalking horse," said Paladino, "You're his bird dog. Send another goon to my daughter's house and I'll take you out, buddy."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Now, it's not clear what the hell Paladino is talking about. The Post's coverage of Paladino's daughter, Sarah, has not been written by Dicker. The paper has not been "sending goons to his daughter's house," but it ran a story on the woman Paladino had an affair with, complete with photo and a final line about an irate Paladino threatening the reporter who worked on that story. All of this, plus a confrontation between Paladino's staff and Dicker -- with campaign manager Michael Caputo promising to cut off Dicker's access -- was filmed.

Now, here's the punchline. publishes the video with the headline "Reporter Goes Wild at NY Gov Candidate's Press Conference." The Paladino campaign sticks by its story that Dicker was biased for Cuomo and the New York Post went over the line in reporting the love child story with a photo. This is some highly concentrated anti-journalism. If conservatives outside New York are just discovering Dicker and think they see a new Dan Rather, they should listen to Dicker grilling then-Gov., now Slate columnist, Eliot Spitzer.

This is bold. It's a bet that Paladino can make baseless accusations, piss off the media, and benefit from voter anger instead of having the attack backfire. That's a bet Alan Grayson lost this week in the backlash against his "Taliban Dan" TV ad, but does it work for conservatives?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.