Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 14, 2003
POLITICS: Who Is Greg Packer?
Ann Coulter is your classic preaching-to-the-choir polemicist, a columnist who bypasses argument and goes straight to the invective (much like the New York Times' Maureen Dowd). Coulter can be very entertaining sometimes when she's locked on a deserving target, but she's justifiably viewed with some suspicion both for her rhetorical excesses and her sometimes cavalier attitude towards fairly and accurately presenting the facts.
Her recent and much-discussed expose of professional "man on the street" Greg Packer, though, is just good journalism:
Another average individual eager to get Hillary's book was Greg Packer, who was the centerpiece of the New York Times' "man on the street" interview about Hillary-mania. After being first in line for an autographed book at the Fifth Avenue Barnes & Noble, Packer gushed to the Times: "I'm a big fan of Hillary and Bill's. I want to change her mind about running for president. I want to be part of her campaign."
It was easy for the Times to spell Packer's name right because he is apparently the entire media's designated "man on the street" for all articles ever written. He has appeared in news stories more than 100 times as a random member of the public. Packer was quoted on his reaction to military strikes against Iraq; he was quoted at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Veterans' Day Parade. He was quoted at not one – but two – New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square. He was quoted at the opening of a new "Star Wars" movie, at the opening of an H&M clothing store on Fifth Avenue and at the opening of the viewing stand at Ground Zero. He has been quoted at Yankees games, Mets games, Jets games – even getting tickets for the Brooklyn Cyclones. He was quoted at a Clinton fund-raiser at Alec Baldwin's house in the Hamptons and the pope's visit to Giants stadium.
Are all reporters writing their stories from Jayson Blair's house?
(Mickey Kaus has more).