Monday, March 17

Two Ways Of Misunderstanding The Spitzer Scandal

When the Spitzer scandal first broke on Monday, all the headlines said that there was proof he was "involved" with a prostitution ring. In retrospect, that makes journalistic sense: there was proof that he wired a shit-ton of money to the Emperors Club, but the papers couldn't claim as fact that the money was used as payment for sex.

But when I saw the headline Spitzer Had Ties To Upscale Escort Agency, my mind didn't immediately go to "john." At first I thought it was another tempest in a, someone had discovered he co-owned a condo that was used for a rendezous, or he had invested in a modelling agency run by a friend, not knowing the true nature of the business.

Then, when I clicked over to Google News, and saw that basically every newspaper in the world was reporting Spitzer Involved In Prostition Ring, I thought it meant that Spitzer was RUNNING the prostitutes. And I was busy, had a lot going on, so I actually spent most of the day thinking that.

Here's a fun thought experiment: how would the past week have been different if the world saw the lights of the Goodyear blimp and it said Governor Eliot Spitzer's a pimp?


Moving on to the prostitute in question, it's weird that most media outlets are going with the worst picture of her...the one where she's giving a backwards peace sign with her black fingernails:

Or they go with the second worst picture of her, the one from her MySpace page:

(I have no idea how long that last one will be up. Also, even by the standards of MySpace, the comments on her site are PRICELESS.)

She's clearly an attractive girl--though after an exhaustive inspection of the Emperors' Club website cache, I can say she wouldn't have been my first choice if I had $5000 burning a hole in my pocket--but she doesn't seem very photogenic.

In fact, she seems really, uh, masculine in those pictures, and this caused my second misunderstanding of the Spitzer scandal: for about ten minutes, I wondered mightily if the real story was that Spitzer had hooked up with a transvestite, and--like the "involved with" and "tied to" issue above--the newspapers couldn't actually SAY that.


Talking about this today, nearly a week too late, is really just a way for me to link to this interesting FAQ about the scandal, put together by the New York Times:

Note that they clear up the cause of my first misunderstanding. (They maintain their silence on the tranny issue.)

I wish the Times would do this for all big news stories. Hell, I wish there was a site that just compiled these.

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