What Eliot Spitzer and Carl Paladino Really Have in Common
In an email to me last week, Spitzer denied Paladino’s account. “He never called me, as least as far as I know,” Spitzer wrote. “I surely didn’t speak to him.” But there’s clearly something going on here. My view? The two men clearly share the painful experience of having publicly demonstrated the universality of moral imperfection (in Paladino’s case, his campaign disclosure that he had a 10-year-old daughter that he’d fathered with a mistress). It’s also hard to escape the thought that they are evidence of the ancient Chinese proverb: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
So it is with Dicker.
During their angry toe-to-toe confrontation—after Dicker challenged Paladino to back up his public claim that Cuomo had engaged in extramarital affairs during his marriage to Kerry Kennedy—the Republican raged that Dicker was acting as Cuomo’s “stalking horse….his bird dog.”
Paladino was reacting to a pattern in Dicker’s journalistic history that had also driven Spitzer crazy (at least when it turned against him): He falls in love with a politician, viewing him as the state’s savior—until after his election. In Dicker’s eyes (and in his columns), Spitzer could do no wrong—before he took office and could do nothing right. And, as Paladino sees it, it’s happening again with Cuomo, who has clearly been Dicker’s political darling. It won’t last forever, of course—if Cuomo wins, Dicker will drive him crazy too. But for now, Paladino—who’s generated plenty of bad press on his own—is unhappily on the wrong end of Dicker’s affections.
On the next page is an excerpt from Client 9 on Frederic Dicker the man known as "FUD."
Excerpt: WHAT MAKES DICKER SO FEARED
Increasingly, the preferred vehicle for attacks on the governor was a single Albany journalist: Frederic Uberall Dicker of the New York Post, sometimes known as “FUD.” Within the capital press corps, the sixty-three-year-old Dicker wasn’t the fairest of the most enterprising or even the most accurate reporter around. But he was surely the most influential.
Dicker was a crusty veteran of nearly thirty years in Albany, a self-described “equal-opportunity prick.” His column, published every Monday, invariably relied on anonymous sources and the breathless tone of tabloid scandal. It was usually one-sided, bereft of anything resembling perspective, and frequently did someone’s dirty work. A reformed socialist who wore a beret and drove a Porsche, Dicker didn’t hesitate to bully bureaucrats in his self-anointed role as advocate for the little guy. When a state police flack didn’t respond to his queries rapidly enough, Dicker warned that if he continued “to duck and dodge,” his “pattern of behavior as a ‘public information officer’ will be the subject of a future article in the New York Post.”