Covering ‘Client 9’

Headlines and Heidi

Looks like the New York tabloids did not take any of CJR’s humble suggestions for Spitzer-related headlines, going instead with :

“Ho No!” (New York Post)


“Pay for Luv Guv” (Daily News)

Scanning this morning’s coverage, there is — in addition to the straight news accounts of the Spitzer scandal (the what, where, when and how as far as it is known to date) — the requisite “Spitzer’s rise and fall” story (New York Times: “White Night to ‘Client 9:’ Stark Fall;” The New York Post: “The Dizzying Rise and Fall of ‘Client 9’.” While the Times’ and Post’s headlines may be similar, their leads are amusingly different:

Post: “Gov. Spitzer has had many nicknames over his two decades in public service - ‘Sheriff of Wall Street,’ ‘The Enforcer’ and, of course, ‘F- - -ing Steamroller.’

Now there’s one more - ‘Client-9.’”

Times: “He stands close to ruin’s precipice, this tireless crusader and once-charmed politician reduced to a notation on a federal affidavit: Client 9…”

A CJR colleague joked yesterday about how quickly the cable networks might tap former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss for expert insights on all things prostitution rings. And? MSNBC got Fleiss on the phone last night during “Dan Abrams Live.” Turns out Fleiss wasn’t as keen to talk about the logistics of running a prostitution ring as she was to talk about herself:

ABRAMS: We have been talking about how these high-end escort services work. You ran one. How do you deal with the someone like governor of New York who has had his face on the cover of Time magazine as an ongoing client with a tab?

FLEISS: Oh, I dealt with much more famous people than that. He is small time for me…

ABRAMS: Talk to me about the details. How did you deal with [high-profile clients]? Do they pay cash?

FLEISS: Of course. Cash is no record. The only person I had a problem with was Charlie Sheen…

Fleiss’ final verdict: “The problem is that [Spitzer] needs to get out of office. I mean I think it’s great he’s getting laid, who wants a governor who doesn’t have sex? That would be horrible. It’s the way he is doing it is wrong.”

Which is not entirely unlike - minus the middle two sentences — what many editorials in New York-area newspapers are arguing this morning (some more emphatically than others).

New York Post: “Eliot Spitzer Must Resign” (Editorial headline: “New York’s Naked Emperor”)

New York Daily News: “Three words to the man: Just get out.” (Editorial headline: “Hit the Road, John”)

Wall Street Journal: “Governor Spitzer, who made his career by specializing in not just the prosecution, but the ruin, of other men, is himself almost certainly ruined.”

New York Times: “He betrayed the public, and it is hard to see how he will recover from this mess and go on to lead the reformist agenda on which he was elected to office.”

And the (Albany) Times-Union editorial page this morning declares that Spitzer “needs to level with the people, whatever his future” — calling for something perhaps more difficult than a simple resignation.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.