King to Paterson: How does it feel getting blindsided?

posted at 10:12 am on February 12, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Okay, Larry King didn’t quite put it like that on his show last night when talking with Governor David Paterson of New York, who is blind. Instead, in talking about the rumors of a personal-scandal story at the New York Times that supposedly would force his resignation — a story that never materialized — King asks Paterson whether he was, er, blind to the story until someone had to read him the headlines from other newspapers and media outlets. Because, you know, it’s hard for blind people to, er, read them for themselves … awkward!

“The fact that you’ve been, not a pun intended, blind to this. In other words, people have to read the headlines to you, right?” Yup. He really did ask that.

King succeeded in blindsiding Paterson with that question, who initially couldn’t figure out what King was getting at. Initially, Paterson replied, “I don’t think my legal blindness has anything to do with it.” Even after that, Paterson politely avoids answering King’s question, preferring to offer somewhat of a non-sequitur about how his condition forced him to get tough. Why King thought Paterson’s blindness had anything to do with this is hard to explain.

However, it’s hard for me to be too tough on King for this uncomfortable moment, although it’s pretty funny. My wife is totally blind and has been for almost 30 years, and I’ve seen more than a few people trip over questions just like this in normal conversation with her. Heck, even I did when I first met her; I kept fumbling for different ways to say “See you later” and “Good to see you,” until the First Mate put me at ease with it. Our first few dates involved the symphony, dinners, walks, and so on — until I ran out of ideas that didn’t involve movies, and she explained that a good movie on occasion was fine by her.

So, to make it clear, blind people can’t read headlines in the newspapers. They do, however, have ways of reading them through adaptive technology, just as the First Mate will read this post on her computer thanks to Jaws software, others through Kurzweil scanner technology, and so on. If Paterson can be governor of New York, he can get the news on time, too. But that won’t keep people from wondering how the blind manage to do it, even occasionally on prime-time television.


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Didn’t see that coming.

Darksean on February 12, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Gees, another Governor that can’t read newspapers.

Electrongod on February 12, 2010 at 10:15 AM

“The fact that you’ve been, not a pun intended, blind to this. In other words, people have to read the headlines to you, right? Cause you can’t see and all, and are a retard too, right? A blind retard?”

Akzed on February 12, 2010 at 10:16 AM

There comes a time when all interviewers need to retire. Unfortunately for Larry, that was 20 years ago.

kingsjester on February 12, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Awkward is putting it mildly.

ladyingray on February 12, 2010 at 10:17 AM

Instead, in talking about the rumors of a personal-scandal story at the New York Times that supposedly would force his resignation — a story that never materialized

Because it was the Chicago thug and his minions who started the rumors to try and force Paterson out. Too bad for the Chicago thug that Paterson is just as ego maniacal as he is.

SouthernGent on February 12, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Stand up, for David Peterson!

MNHawk on February 12, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Eye see no problem with what King said.

TheBigOldDog on February 12, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Stand up, for David Peterson!

MNHawk on February 12, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Gawd Love Ya David!

TheBigOldDog on February 12, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Oops. Open mouth, insert foot, Lar’ ol’ boy!

Join conservatives on an open forum at It’s About Freedom.

IronDioPriest on February 12, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Same liberal mentality that the disabled are helpless, regardless of whether they’re destitute or the Governor of New York.

Red Cloud on February 12, 2010 at 10:21 AM

It also occurs to me that Patterson is light-skinned as well. I’m not familiar enough with the Governor to determine whether or not he’s also clean, articulate, or speaks with/without a dialect.

BobMbx on February 12, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Southwest Airlines should bring back the “Wanna get away?” ad campaign. This time with only actual cases that have politicians involved. Here with King and Paterson. Biden offers several to choose from as well.

“Stand up Chuck…”

anuts on February 12, 2010 at 10:22 AM

It’s a good thing Larry King is “smart”.

artist on February 12, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Simple mistake, and I’m not a big fan of trying to find an innocuous term for every situation because someone somewhere might find offense. Still, Larry hit the wall long ago and should have retired to a cabin somewhere to make fishing flys or something.

Bishop on February 12, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Didn’t see that one coming…

Vashta.Nerada on February 12, 2010 at 10:25 AM

There are always awkward situations dealing with disabilities. A healthy sense of humor helps as with the Kirby vacuum salesman asking the blind lady if she would like to see a demonstration of the vacuum. The lady has to respond by saying she is blind so the salesman responds by asking her is she would care to feel the Kirby.

fourdeucer on February 12, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Eyes wide shut, eh Larry!

Bubba Redneck on February 12, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Larry King the original CorpseMan.

Knucklehead on February 12, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Awkward is putting it mildly.

ladyingray on February 12, 2010 at 10:17 AM

lolololol

blatantblue on February 12, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Nice. Larry King went to the Joe Biden school of empathy.

hawksruleva on February 12, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Has Governor Paterson seen Blindside yet?

Holger on February 12, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Blind leading the blind…

PatriotRider on February 12, 2010 at 10:31 AM

lol thanks for the anecdote on your first dates, ed

on a serious note
thats pretty tough

blatantblue on February 12, 2010 at 10:34 AM

Oh
Dear
Lord

katy the mean old lady on February 12, 2010 at 10:34 AM

GOVERNOR!

CAN’T YOU SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO THE GREAT STATE OF NEW YORK/!?!?!?!

blatantblue on February 12, 2010 at 10:36 AM

frankly id rather lose a leg than be blind

to never be able to look at gorgeous women again?

the thought shakes me to my very core

blatantblue on February 12, 2010 at 10:36 AM

I reminds me of his interview w/ Ringo Starr and he asked him when was the last time he talked to George Harrison.

thomasaur on February 12, 2010 at 10:37 AM

It is pretty hard for me to take a man seriously that pitches Garlic pills.

Johnnyreb on February 12, 2010 at 10:41 AM

It is pretty hard for me to take a man seriously that pitches Garlic pills.

Johnnyreb on February 12, 2010 at 10:41 AM

get out
does he really?

garlique?

blatantblue on February 12, 2010 at 10:43 AM

the man must smell like old bologna all day

blatantblue on February 12, 2010 at 10:43 AM

get out
does he really?

garlique?

blatantblue on February 12, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Not sure if he still does, but he was hot and heavy into it a few years back.

Johnnyreb on February 12, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Governor Paterson to Larry King…

“What’s that smell?”

Seven Percent Solution on February 12, 2010 at 10:46 AM

The funny — and revealing — thing about David Patterson is that in the hierarchy of New York State Democratic Party politics, he was never, ever supposed to be governor. All he was ever supposed to be was a racial sop to black voters in the state to get their to turn out for Elliot Spitzer in 2006. The fact that he became governor and planned to remain as governor angered many of the ‘tolerant, elightened’ types in the Democratic Party, so the normal rules of conduct towards a Democratic politician, let alone an African-American, physically handicapped one, never applied.

It was the left in New York politics, and the downstate media that loves them, that basically turned Patterson and his blindness into almost as big a joke as they tried to make Sarah Palin and her non-urban accent. Patterson for much of the time has been as weak and as vacillating a leader in Albany has Barack Obama has been in Washington, but the difference in how the media covers one vs. covering for the other is like night and day (or more appropriately, like an honorary Republican and a Democrat).

jon1979 on February 12, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Joaquin Balaguer was President of the Dominican Republic for 22 years and he was blind. Few people has had more control of the state than him.

Falz on February 12, 2010 at 10:49 AM

just as the First Mate will read this post on her computer thanks to Jaws software

Freedom Scientific. Another company that I once worked for.

MarkTheGreat on February 12, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Cause you can’t see and all, and are a retard too, right? A blind retard?”

Akzed on February 12, 2010 at 10:16 AM

LOL!!

KeepOhioRed on February 12, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Liberals: If you can get past their elitism and oft-evident foot-in-mouth unintentional honesty, you get to see that they’re really just a fun-loving bunch of Socio-Marxists! Cheers!

AubieJon on February 12, 2010 at 10:53 AM

OT

Six car train derailment in DC

blatantblue on February 12, 2010 at 10:54 AM

“. . . . and thank you for stumbling by. I’ll be seeing ya.”

kens on February 12, 2010 at 11:00 AM

At least he didn’t ask the gov what newspapers does he read. Love ya, Larry, keep up the good work. No wonder people stopped watching cnn. Snore!

Kissmygrits on February 12, 2010 at 11:04 AM

When you work with blind people, you become very aware of how often visual references pop up in normal conversation -especially the word “see”. It does feel very awkward because the tendency at first is to try to censure yourself. Which is all too clear to the blind person you’re talking to.

I still remember the first time I let the, “I’ll see you later.” line slip with one blind man. He smoothly responded with the old, “Not if I see you first.” line, then burst out laughing like it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard. He didn’t need to see my face to “see” my response. Things were a lot less awkward after that -at least with him.

taznar on February 12, 2010 at 11:11 AM

There should be an expiration date on TV talk show hosts…

d1carter on February 12, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Thanks for sharing that with us Ed.

ronsfi on February 12, 2010 at 11:18 AM

Are a$$hats legally blind? It is dark in there, I’m told.

ya2daup on February 12, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Watching Larry King feels eerily close to necromancy.

I seriously question if that is his real voice or if he is just harnessing the power of his death rattle.

dieudonne on February 12, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Regarding persons with disabilities, quite often it appears that people, in their zeal to demonstrate empathy for the “afflicted” person, disregard common sense during the encounter. My wife has a service dog that helps her avoid bending over and lifting by retrieving dropped items and other small objects for her. Some people, having assumed the dog was a seeing eye dog, have asked her if that was the case even though at that moment she was getting out of the driver’s seat of a car, keys in hand, or reading signs at a museum exhibit.

ya2daup on February 12, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Joe Biden: “We are glad to have Gov. Paterson in our midst. Stand up, everyone. Let him see how glad we are that he is here.”

mwdiver on February 12, 2010 at 11:34 AM

You are one heck of a guy, Ed. Your wife is one lucky gal.

txag92 on February 12, 2010 at 11:36 AM

blatantblue on February 12, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Conserved your momentum from last night, I see! ;o)

ya2daup on February 12, 2010 at 11:37 AM

quite often it appears that people, in their zeal to demonstrate empathy for the “afflicted” person, disregard common sense during the encounter.When I spent most of a year in a wheelchair people tended to think it was a life-long situation and I got some experience with some of the conflict they go through. They want to acknowledge and deal frankly with any limitations but they also don’t want to draw attention to it or say anything awkward. They get so flustered being pulled between the two that ANYTHING can fall out of their mouths.

dieudonne on February 12, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Sorry. Poor cut/paste.

quite often it appears that people, in their zeal to demonstrate empathy for the “afflicted” person, disregard common sense during the encounter

When I spent most of a year in a wheelchair people tended to think it was a life-long situation and I got some experience with some of the conflict they go through. They want to acknowledge and deal frankly with any limitations but they also don’t want to draw attention to it or say anything awkward. They get so flustered being pulled between the two that ANYTHING can fall out of their mouths.

dieudonne on February 12, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Doh!

Alden Pyle on February 12, 2010 at 11:49 AM

There comes a time when all interviewers need to retire. Unfortunately for Larry, that was 20 years ago.

kingsjester on February 12, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Agreed, but I have to go with Ed on this too. Larry probably felt worse about asking it, after realizing what he had asked, than Paterson did, about it being asked at all. We’ve all fumbled, and felt those awkward moments. I just count my blessings that my fumbles aren’t aired for an entire nation, or world to see. lol

capejasmine on February 12, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Leave it to Larry King to keep it classy.

pilamaye on February 12, 2010 at 1:21 PM

frankly id rather lose a leg than be blind

to never be able to look at gorgeous women again?

the thought shakes me to my very core

blatantblue on February 12, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Well, that depends on which leg it is.

PatMac on February 12, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Patterson saw Larry blush.

I am with Patterson. I also do not read the NYTimes.

seven on February 12, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Bwwwhhaaahaaahaaa!

This. Seinfeld. What else? We need a montage!

29Victor on February 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM