The New York Times, masquerading as the National Enquirer, is supposedly waiting to run a story describing alleged adultery by Governor David Paterson. At least one member of Paterson's staff has already launched a preemptive strike against the yet unpublished story.
The fact that these types of stories are newsworthy and potentially career-ending astonishes me. Paterson and his wife have already stated that they both have had sex with other people during the course of their marriage. So what is the big deal?
Adultery is illegal in New York, but this law is rarely enforced, and it is likely unconstitutional. It is only a Class B misdemeanor, along with "crimes" like fortune telling and loitering. "Consensual sodomy" was on the list until 2000 when the Supreme Court held that these types of laws violate the Constitution. The same logic imperils adultery and (definitely) fornication laws. This law does not make Paterson's alleged adultery newsworthy.
After John McCain secured the Republican presidential nomination, the New York Times revived smutty stories from the distant past regarding rumors of infidelity and ethical violations concerning McCain. After receiving so many complaints, the paper published a notice to readers denying that the article ever stated that McCain had in fact committed adultery or engaged in any ethical misconduct -- even though the article focused solely upon "rumors" that he had. The New York Times also made Elliot Spitzer's sexual conduct a cottage industry -- competing with Nancy Grace for sensationalism and prurience. Apparently, the paper is at it again.