Ed Driscoll

A Dangerous Lot: New York City Newspaper Publishers

“New York is an exciting town where something is happening all the time — most of it unsolved,” the late Johnny Carson once quipped — before moving his show 3000 miles away from the crime scene.

Sure, Manhattan looks glamorous when observed from a discreet distance. But danger lurks behind every corner, particularly in the rough-and-tumble world of pacifist liberal journalism. Which is why it’s a good idea to always maintain a discreet distance if you find yourself in the company of New York’s leftwing newspaper publishers. You never know when one might attack you:

A West Village-based newspaper publisher attacked a state senator and a volunteer for mayoral candidate Christine Quinn at an event touting her record, he admitted Monday.

WestView News publisher George Capsis said he slapped State Senator Brad Hoylman and a young man holding a Quinn sign during an 11:30 a.m. rally at the site of the shuttered St. Vincent’s Hospital because he was so angry about the hospital’s closure.

“I have so much pent up anger,” Capsis said after the incident. “If you bring [the volunteer] over here, I’d hit him again.”

“My wife died two days ago. She was at a hospital in the Bronx. I had to travel an hour and a half to get to see her,” Capsis explained, saying his wife Andromache Capsis died of lung cancer at the age of 87. “If this hospital had existed, I could have walked two blocks and spent time with her in the last hours of her life.”

Capsis said he struck Hoylman because he wasn’t listening to him and then attacked the volunteer because he tried to pull Capsis away from the state senator.

“They sent [the volunteer] to take me away, the little pipsqueak,” Capsis said.

And you never know when one might randomly toss out the N-Word:

The executive editor of the nation’s largest alternative newspaper company angered dozens of Arizona journalists Friday night when he used a racial slur during an awards speech.

Michael Lacey, co-owner of Village Voice Media, which publishes a chain of weekly newspapers across the United States including Phoenix New Times, used the slur while accepting an award from the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Lacey’s reference to an old friend of his, the late Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Tom Fitzpatrick, as “my (n-word),” sparked immediate reaction from those who attended the event. The short, impromptu speech also included some vulgar phrases.

Billye Paulson, a black journalist who works for the Tribune, called the speech “offensive” and fired off an angry e-mail to Lacey demanding an apology.

There’s also the risk that publisher could hear “Autumn Leaves” playing in his head and begin randomly waxing nostalgic for how badly his generation had screwed the world:

I’ll start with an apology.

When I graduated from college in 1974, my fellow students and I had just ended the war in Vietnam and ousted President Nixon. Okay, that’s not quite true. Yes, the war did end and yes, Nixon did resign in disgrace – but maybe there were larger forces at play.

Either way, we entered the real world committed to making it a better, safer, cleaner, more equal place. We were determined not to repeat the mistakes of our predecessors. We had seen the horrors and futility of war and smelled the stench of corruption in government.

Our children, we vowed, would never know that.

So, well, sorry. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

You weren’t supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land.

You weren’t supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, be it the rights of immigrants to start a new life; the rights of gays to marry; or the rights of women to choose.

You weren’t supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drives policy and environmentalists have to relentlessly fight for every gain.

You weren’t. But you are. And for that I’m sorry.

Though on rare — exceedingly rare — occasion, they do eventually come to their senses: