One Very Tough Governor

March 11, 2010

David Paterson stands firm against the corporate media and
the public approves

I have a friend who manages a hair salon. She’s a busy woman with three kids and little time to spare, so she doesn’t follow the news and figure out what’s really going on as much as she’d like to. Since she knows that I have the time in my life to ponder current events, she often asks for my take on the news.

“What’s up with Governor Paterson?” she asked me a few weeks ago. “I did ten customers yesterday, and nine of them said the exact same thing, ‘Paterson has to resign.’ What’s up with that?”

They said the exact same thing? I told my friend, If you go out in public and almost everyone you meet repeats the exact same phrase, then you know the corporate media is conducting a propaganda blitz. I told her that all nine of her hair customers probably had “Paterson has to resign” rammed into their heads the night before by their own TV sets.

My friend nodded. She’s one of the smarter people I know, and her bullstuff detector is always in good working order. “That’s what I thought,” she said. “So why are they attacking him?”

Governor David Paterson In My Neighborhood Last Year Governor David Paterson In My Neighborhood Last Year

Well, that’s a very good question. Almost all media scandals have no real substance, they depend entirely upon constant repetition to maintain the illusion of substance. This scandal is no exception. After all, if an actual crime had been committed, the repetition wouldn’t be necessary. All the media would have to do is report facts.

Every single day for the past month, the Hearst-owned Times Union has plastered anti-Paterson headlines on their front page. Every day. Often the Times Union headlines have been big type, bold, screaming at the reader in a manner which is usually reserved for sudden disasters and terrorist attacks.

Most of these daily Hearst stories have been repeating old details and adding unfounded allegations, they contain very little actual news. The Daily Gazette has been behaving in a similar fashion. I don’t watch TV or listen to the AM radio dittohead shows, but I’m told that those corporate outlets are conducting the same mind numbing nonfactual repetition, all in a coordinated action. “Paterson has to resign, resign, resign.”

But somebody is behind this corporate media blitz. Exactly which power brokers are trying to drive Mr. Paterson out of the Governor’s office, and why? That’s what’s puzzling me.

Time to Go, Dave Time To Go, Dave Respected Publications Working Together

As any scam artist can tell you, the best lies are based on a little bit of truth. A little bit of truth gives the lies legs and staying power, while at the same time a little bit of truth discourages otherwise discerning people from asking probing questions. The technical term for such well proportioned lies is “bulls–t.”

The Scandal is based on Mr. Paterson’s relationship with his closest personal aide, a fellow named David W. Johnson. It seems that this fellow Johnson has been known to act like John Sweeney and smack around his wife. As we all know, heterosexual men are not allowed to hit women, so Johnson’s domestic behavior has become a criminal matter.

Too bad for Johnson, he should have known better. Lock him up in the Wifebeater’s Hotel where he can share a room with Sweeney. Both their ex-wives can visit and administer electroshock therapy for, say, an hour a week. Be sure to tell Johnson to resign his state job as they drag him out the door, case closed. Right?

No. The Governor, inexplicably, personally intervened in the case. According to corporate news reports, he directly contacted the abused woman twice and had some of his office staff contact her several times. Apparently some State Police from the Governor’s security staff also talked to the woman. Indeed those are the main facts, almost everything else you’ve heard is speculation and or innuendo.

David Paterson At Right In 1970 With His Father Senator Hiram Paterson, His Mother Portia And Brother Daniel David Paterson At Right In 1970 With His Father Senator Basil Paterson, His Mother Portia And Brother Daniel

So the pertinent question is whether or not Mr. Paterson made these contacts with a view to influencing the case, that is, intentionally obstructing justice. Or, did he merely commit a foolish impropriety by contacting the abused woman and trying to “sort things out,” an impropriety he should have known better than to commit?

Funny how the corporate media has pretty much skipped over this question. The NY Times, which appears to be coordinating the smear campaign, has set the tone by presuming guilt. “These accounts,” said the NY Times on March 1, referring to the calls and visits, “provide the first evidence that Mr. Paterson helped direct an effort to influence the accuser.”

That’s called “shaping information.” Indeed, the very same two NY Times content providers who conducted the smear campaign against former Governor Eliot Spitzer are creating the smear job on Mr. Paterson. Their names are William K. Rashbaum and Danny Hakim. Think of them as The New Judith Millers.

The Governor had a very special relationship with this guy Johnson, one that most of us will never have with another person. Mr. Paterson, as we all know, is blinder than a bat and, as far as I know, has no sonar. To hold down a job like Governor of New York State He needs to compensate for his poor eyesight, he needs alternative eyes close by at all times.

I got a chance last year to briefly watch the interaction between Mr. Paterson and David Johnson. Last May on this blog I published a photo I’d snapped of the two of them at work on Morton Avenue in my neighborhood:

David Johnson At Left, Guiding The  Governor Through My Neighborhood Last Year David Johnson At Left, Guiding The Governor Through My Neighborhood Last Year

I watched as Johnson, large and imposing, directed the Governor through the crowd and provided for him a precise running commentary on what was directly in front of them. From what I saw I have to say that Johnson did his job with impressive efficiency and accuracy.

For sure that’s why Mr. Paterson retained Johnson as an employee even after Johnson’s domestic abuse crimes came to be known. I don’t think the Governor could tolerate some screwup giving him false information minute to minute. “Turn left here Governor… oops, didn’t see that tree, didja? Ha ha…” I think Mr. Paterson would be very reluctant to lose a valuable and reliable employee like Johnson.

And yet, while watching the two of them interact at that public event, I was immediately hit with an uneasy thought that I had to quickly examine and dispose of.

They looked like a master and servant. Most Americans, despite having their heads crammed with corporatist propaganda, are instinctively repelled by such relationships. I strongly suspect that many other persons who have watched them working together have have had the same momentary crisis that I had.

One or two hundred years ago every rich man and woman had factotums at their sides (or two steps behind) as a sign of their superior power and prosperity. Today’s elected officials wouldn’t dare display personal servants to advertise their status. Instead they have “security personnel” for their traveling entourages and security theater checkpoints outside their offices to underscore their own personal importance for a gaping easily deceived public.

David Johnson Working With Governor Paterson David Johnson Working With Governor Paterson

Naturally, I quickly reminded myself that the Governor needs a reliable set of eyes next to him at all times, it would be quite silly for him to rely on the kindness of strangers. Like at this event last year in my neighborhood, if Mr. Paterson had relied on Jerry Jennings and Jack McEneny to guide him, the man would have ended up rotating in the middle of Morton Avenue while getting clipped by suburban SUVs.

I am, however, accustomed to watching my own thought processes, so I noted that my uneasy feeling about their close relationship lingered in the back of my mind. I strongly suspect that most people who observed Johnson and Mr. Paterson working together also stuffed this thought into the backs of their brains, perhaps unconsciously.

It is this collective lingering uneasy feeling that is being exploited by these two propagandists Rashbaum and Hakim. The copy from their NY Times articles plays directly on this fleeting attitude that no one talks about. These excerpts are from their masterpiece of smear propaganda printed on February 16:

Mr. Johnson’s increasing prominence, and Mr. Paterson’s reliance on him, have worried some veteran aides to the governor . . . Some heads of significant government agencies have said they feel they have to go through Mr. Johnson, often known as D. J., to get to the governor… Mr. Johnson, [an] official said, started to manage administration press conferences, dictating the order and seating of speakers and calling agencies to request they draft statements on particular issues…