The Gray Lady Has Jumped the Shark

I don’t read the New York Times on a regular basis.  I may check out a story here and there just to reinforce my belief that, while it may be considered the “newspaper of record,” it’s still just a part of the lamestream media.  I’ve often hoped they’d call to sell me a subscription so I could say I don’t own a bird and, therefore, am not in need of a birdcage liner, but that hasn’t happened yet.

While the paper’s motto continues to be “all the news that’s fit to print,” I dare anyone to explain to me why the next story is fit to be told anywhere other than on a third-rate reality tv show.

I heard about the December 17th article appearing in the Weddings/Celebrations section’s “Vows” column while watching “Red Eye,” which, by the way, is the funniest late night show on television.  Anyway, the article describes the recent marriage of former New York WNBC reporter and anchor, Carol Anne Riddell, and John Partilla.  The article describes in detail how these two met, fell in love, married, and created one big happy family with their respective children.

They met in 2006 in a pre-kindergarten classroom.  Their children went to the same upper west side school.  Ms. Riddell described Mr. Partilla’s dynamic personality, “He doesn’t walk in, he explodes in.”  Similarly, Mr. Partilla describes Ms. Riddell as a kindred dynamo.  “She’s such a force.  She rocks back and forth on her feet as if she can’t contain her energy as she’s talking to you.”

Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Well, they both had spouses.  The two families became friends, shared dinners, Christmas parties and even vacationed together!

This is the tripe the NYT chose to publish:  “But it was hard to ignore their easy rapport.  They got each other’s jokes and finished each other’s sentences.  They shared a similar rhythm in the way they talked and moved.  The very things one hopes to find in another person, but not when you’re married to someone else.”

When I read that Mr. Partilla “didn’t believe in the word soul mate before” but he does now, I was ready to toss my cookies.  When he made that sophomoric statement, did he ever consider his ex-wife, the mother of his children?

The article goes on and details the anguish each suffered and how horribly punished they felt.  “Why did someone throw him in my path when I can’t have him?”  I thought this was the type of drivel daytime soap operas were made of.

We were given the details about how they eventually told their spouses, their separation, their wedding in the clerk’s office and subsequent “small ceremony in the presidential suite of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.” According to Ms. Riddell, her “kids are going to look at me and know that I am flawed and not perfect, but also deeply in love.  We’re going to have a big, noisy, rich life, with more love and more people in it.”  Wow, I know I’m touched.

Have we, as a society, sunk so low that even the NYT, the supposed “newspaper of record,” finds it newsworthy to set forth the sordid details of this alliance?  Sure, people split up every day.  Some even meet new people while they’re married to someone else.  But who would reveal, and what newspaper would publish, the intimate details of the destruction of two marriages and two families?

These two, obviously narcissistic, individuals feel compelled to bear their souls and describe in detail their sordid relationship.  But what would make the NYT decide to publish this “fairytale” piece?  I’d like it to re-visit these two utterly selfish human beings in five years to see if their hot monkey love is still in play.  My guess:  I doubt it.

I skimmed through the 139 published comments.  While there were a few “we shouldn’t be judgmental” remarks, and a few good wishes for their happiness, I didn’t see too much support for the NYT publishing the Riddell/Partilla exposition.  One woman whose ex-husband left her for a woman she considered one of her closest friends wrote, “to sugar-coat the destruction of two marriages by telling this story in the Vows column, I find appalling.”  Ditto.

Like I said, I don’t regularly read the NYT, and I have no idea about Devan Sipher, who starts off his article by asking “what happens when love comes at the wrong time?”  But, regardless of my opinion of the NYT, I don’t get why it would stoop to the level of a Jerry Springer to publish such an exposé.  After reading about these two self-centered individuals, I’ll venture to guess that their ex-spouses are better off without them.  But I’m sure that’s easy for me to say.  I wish them and their children all the best.

I get that these two obnoxious people found one another.  What I don’t get is why the editor of the NYT thought their shameful story should be told.  But, if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • chief

    It is sad to see a once great paper drop to the bottom of the bird cage. I’m glad I switch to the WSJ. I haven’t seen this type of useless story in any section.

  • Bruce A.

    I remember when I was in the single digit age group over 40 years ago, divorce was not common or really talked about. Now with stories like this in the NYT everyone can read the details including the children of these couples. As a married parent my wife & I tend to look out for our childern first. My parents & grandparents did the same, it’s just common sense.

  • Konrad Lau

    The issue is: The Grey Lady deals only in shades of grey.

    Far be it for any over-educated, under moraled, supposed journalist to be so callused as to actually make a judgment call on issues of Right and Wrong. In more scrupled times, the NYT editors would never have subjected the disaffected parties to the public humiliation of the public airing of this disgrace.

    If we started to see that kind of writing/editing, someone (perhaps one of the sixteen unfortunate readers who still have unexpired NYT subscriptions) may begin to get a tinge of conscience.

    Maybe we would even see in print someone calling a Muslim terrorist a Muslim terrorist or an Illegal Alien and Illegal Alien.

    You will note: I am not holding my breath for any of that to happen.

  • Roger Ward

    Just one of many possible examples of why the NYT is irrelevant and out of touch. If I want gossip, I know where to find it. My sympathies to the ex-spouses and families who were hurt by these two selfish people.

  • Teddi

    There is just no shame anymore. The liberal media certainly fuels that way of thinking.

  • Ron

    Just another reason why I do not read the New York Times.

  • JDO

    I foresee a lot of therapy for their children but, hey, just as long as THEY’RE happy … jeez.

  • Shirl

    What the lame stream media thinks people want to watch, read and hear these days is beyond me. It never tweaks my attention long enough to continue to watch, read or listen. Maybe it’s just me but I’d rather watch Fox News and Sarah Palin’s Alaska. Watching Sarah shoot that elk was more entertaining than anything the liberal media has to offer. Heck, even C-span is more interesting and I never thought I’d say that.