Radar’s Clinton Scoop: The Analysis

0124clinton.jpgDid Radar magazine’s scoop on the New York Times‘ presidential endorsements force the paper to announce them ahead of time?

Here’s a timeline:

Thursday, 6:13pm: Charles Kaiser writes in the “Fresh Intelligence” blog:

New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., has decided to endorse Hillary Clinton for president, Radar has learned. The editorial expressing that view is scheduled to appear this weekend (emp. ours – FBNY). […] Reached at his office, Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal was asked if the paper would be endorsing a white person or a black person for president. “Yes,” he replied. He refused any further comment.

Thursday, 8:43pm: The New York Times announces via e-mail:

The editorial board of The New York Times is endorsing
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic
presidential nomination and Senator John McCain as the
Republican nominee.

Both the Clinton endorsement and McCain endorsement were published in the Friday New York Times.

So the million dollar question here is whether Radar‘s scoop influenced the timing of the Times‘ endorsements, which are usually released in the Sunday edition. In an interview with Michael Calderone of The Politico, Rosenthal adamantly denied the fact while also denying that the op-eds were timed to influence South Carolina democarats:

Minutes after the endorsement was posted online, editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal told Politico the unusually early South Carolina Democratic primary influenced the timing of publication. […] But, Rosenthal said, the South Carolina results might have called for adjusting the piece to account for any news, which would not have been possible with the “Week in Review” section – where the endorsement would normally run – already closed. […] Less than three hours before the endorsement was posted online, Radar magazine’s website reported that the paper would choose its home-state senator over the weekend. “It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Radar posted it,” Rosenthal said. “Obviously, it’s not a decision we made tonight,” he added.

Note Rosenthal’s disingenuous reply to Calderone’s query. What “decision” was he talking about? The decision to endorse Clinton & McCain? The decision to publish it Friday? Hmm.

Meanwhile, Gawker noted another interesting fact: The McCain endorsement read less like a manifesto of support to the candidate and more like a screed against Rudy Giuliani.