Paterson Demands New York Times 'Clear the Air'

NEW YORK -- New York Governor David Paterson on Thursday called on The New York Times to clear the air about widely circulated media reports the paper is working on a story so explosive it could force him from office.

"Human decency, if not journalistic ethics, I think would compel an organization, when they see a person being slandered ... to clear the air" and state that the charges being bandied about are not contained in the article, Paterson said on CNN's "Larry King Live" program.

"I wish they would" make a clarifying statement "so I could be out of my misery," Paterson told King, adding, "It's like a Kafkaesque scenario."

CNN quoted a Times spokeswoman as saying the newspaper neither started the rumors nor trafficked in them. CNN said the paper's metropolitan editor said the Times was "not responsible for what other news organizations are reporting," adding, "It's not coming from the Times."

The Times did not respond to Reuters' request for comment.

But Paterson said "clearly somebody is" out to get him with the explosive allegations, although he did not speculate as to who might be behind such an effort. He reiterated his determination to run for governor, and again denied allegations of infidelity and recreational drug use.

Paterson, facing a probable challenge for the Democratic Party nomination from state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, took over as governor in 2008 after then-Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in a prostitution scandal.

Media blogs including the Huffington Post and New York tabloid newspapers have reported the Times will soon publish a story that would force Paterson's resignation.

But Paterson told the newspaper's editorial board he had no intention of quitting and would formally announce his candidacy in the next two weeks.

Paterson's approval rating has been low for months and last week hit 26 percent in one statewide poll.