Caroline Kennedy and the War for Newspapers' Balls

It's time for another bitter shot fired in the impenetrable politico-media war over Caroline Kennedy's failed Senatorial bid! Today, more on Caroline's "secret reason" for dropping out. To the press, this is manly fun:

Fred Dicker, the New York Post's man in Albany, is a media demigod to all the second-string political hacks in that godforsaken city. Throughout this entire Caroline Kennedy saga, Dicker has been the one vacuuming up the gossip in Albany; the Times has tried to tackle the story with its prestige and connections to NYC big shots, but that paper's entire Albany bureau doesn't have nearly the clout of Dicker by himself. Nobody wants to finally land that NYT gig and then get sent to Albany, ya know. Today Dicker gets an explanation from the Kennedy camp that really sheds no new light on her reasoning. But they were due for some bitching after the governor's staff smeared them all over the tabloids last weekend:

CAROLINE Kennedy's "personal reasons" for withdrawing from Senate consideration were not connected to damaging claims from Gov. Paterson's camp that she owed back taxes, had a nanny problem or faced a marital scandal, two sources close to her have told The Post....

While neither source would say so, others close to the Kennedys believe the negative reaction of one of Kennedy's children was a determining factor in her withdrawing from consideration for the seat, which eventually went to Kirsten Gillibrand.

There's also plenty of bitching about Paterson in there, as you might expect. The more interesting way to absorb this story is as a dirty fight between the Times and the Post, both of whom have their own internal disagreements. In New York magazine this week, a Times reporter describes the, uh, motivation of the staff there:

Kennedy also smacked headlong into a newly emboldened Times city staff. “We’ve grown a pair of balls, and I’m amazingly proud of the paper,” says a Times reporter. “The turning point was the editorial page’s rolling over for Bloomberg on erasing term limits. The reaction from the reporters and editors is that we’re the last line of defense—we’ve got to hold the line.” Not for or against any particular politician, that is, but to stand up for small-d democracy. After inflating her candidacy by making her simple declaration of interest in the job the lead story of the day, they compensated by hitting her hard.

Ha, nice. The Post had corporate connections to Kennedy's campaign, and the NYT, of course, has those rumors about its publisher and Caroline, and everybody is vicious and mad and wounded and hurt and this story still has plenty of legs. Public service!