Patterico's Pontifications

1/1/2011

New York Daily News Latest Outlet to Get Suckered by Greg Packer

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:49 am



Who would have guessed our quote-providing hero would be at Times Square on New Year’s Eve? Here are three people who were surprised and bowled over: New York Daily News reporters Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, James Panelli, and Tina Moore:

Greg Packer, 47, a retired maintenance worker from Huntington, N.Y., ate an entire pizza. It was his eighth New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

“I love it,” he said. “I mean, everybody from all over the world comes just to watch a Waterford crystal ball. It’s great.”

Packer is actually no stranger to the pages of the Daily News. I guess they’re suckers for an easy and ersatz man on the street quote.

Happy New Year, Greg!

73 Responses to “New York Daily News Latest Outlet to Get Suckered by Greg Packer”

  1. “Greg Packer, 47, a retired maintenance worker….” How? How the hell did he get toretire at 47 after earning maintenance worker wages? I know doctors and reasonably frugal attorneys in their 60s who haven’t been able to retire. What is the Packer Secret?

    Simon Kenton (a0b742)

  2. If that’s what it takes value and meaning to his life, more power to him. He ain’t killing nobody.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  3. I’m with Simon, who gets to retire at 47 on maintenance worker wages? Did he sustain a disability doing that maintenance work? I’d really like to know.

    He may not be killing anyone, but he is certainly making regular fools out of some reporters. Of course, that doesn’t take much for some of them.

    PatAZ (b334e9)

  4. Christoph, seriously, are you not understanding the Greg Packer issue?

    The AP does, quoting from a memo: “”The world is full of all kinds of interesting people. One of them is Greg Packer of Huntington, N.Y., who apparently lives to get his name on the AP wire and in other media. It works: A Nexis search turned up 100 mentions in various publications… Mr. Packer is clearly eager to be quoted. Let’s be eager, too — to find other people to quote.”

    SPQR (26be8b)

  5. Christoph, seriously, are you not understanding the Greg Packer issue?

    Well, I’m definitely not putting a lot of effort into understanding “the Greg Packer issue”.

    Mr. Packer is clearly eager to be quoted. Let’s be eager, too — to find other people to quote.

    Well, if that’s the issue, then I get it. However, some guy who is a bit of a publicity whore and likes to be quoted about random articles where no one in particular is going to make decisions based on his random, trivial quotes, does not a major issue make.

    It’s a free country. If he — using his real and true name, no less — wants to express his opinion on sundry issues, I don’t much care, and if it makes him feel good about life, then Happy New Year, Greg.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  6. I mean, he isn’t even sockpuppeting. Anyone who wants to discount the opinion because it’s from Greg Packer can, and no, he isn’t obligated to discount his own opinion for others in advance.

    The guy is using his real name and making an effort to express his opinions. So. What?

    “I mean, everybody from all over the world comes just to watch a Waterford crystal ball. It’s great.”

    Is not a major afront to our civilizations’s ability to sift through opinions and find the truth.

    And a reporter reported that Greg ate a whole pizza. Not Earth-shattering news, but I wasn’t expecting to find such news in that story.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  7. I’m a big fan of Greg Packer.

    The reason I first came to Patterico’s Pontification, and was persuaded to stay, was Pat’s interest in just how unreliable, biased and incompetent “professional” journalists really are.

    I’ll say it again, every time I see Greg Packer’s name it is a vindication of my opinion on most media.

    TimesDisliker (e4f5ef)

  8. Take letters to the editor (or commenting on a large number of blogs).

    One guy never writes a letter to the editor; another guy writes 3 or 4 letters to the editor each week for life, and gets his opinions published in dozens of newspapers across the country. (Heck, even I’ve been published in a few, on that minor basis.)

    Where is the problem?

    Is there some equality-right to an equal distribution of giving your opinion-time, that I missed from philosophy or the constitution?

    Christoph (8ec277)

  9. Cristoph, no one here has a problem with Greg Packer, the problem is with the news reporters who keep quoting him.

    Considering how often he has been quoted, every room in every J-School in the country should have a banner with his name on it so that the graduates will not forget it. Likewise every editor who lets a Packer quote get into print should be forced to have “Greg Packer” tattooed onto the back of their hand as a condition of employment, so that the editor will not forget his name. An exception can be made if there is note about Greg Packer and the fact that he has been wandering the streets providing man-in-the-street insight for decades (wasn’t Packer’s first quote about cabbage patch kids in the 1980s?).

    max (2f2a28)

  10. The DAily News, is exceeded only by it’s antipodal cousin, in the Cook Inlet, in it’s mendacity

    narciso (6075d0)

  11. How the hell did he get toretire at 47 after earning maintenance worker wages?

    It’s obvious that he worked for the City and retired on disability.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b6ebc8)

  12. Comment by Christoph — 1/1/2011 @ 1:41 pm

    Christoph got lost in the forest once…
    he was standing next to the only tree in Death Valley.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b6ebc8)

  13. Considering how often he has been quoted, every room in every J-School in the country should have a banner with his name on it so that the graduates will not forget it?

    Why? What harm did it do?

    He wasn’t commenting on nuclear physics. He was mentioning he ate a pizza and that people come to New York to celebrate the new year’s countdown. I’m so obviously not seeing the problem with him giving, and reporters accepting, his opinions on things, if the opinions themselves are reasonable.

    Sure, he probably goes out a lot more than other people, and goes places he knows reporters will be, and then offers his opinions to reporters, but so friggin’ what?

    Is America not a land of freedom of expression and, more than that, self-promotion?

    It bugs many people that someone who isn’t famous or particularly accomplished gives his opinion repeatedly.

    Well, bully for him!

    Christoph (8ec277)

  14. Christoph,

    I’d like to say that you seem to get the point and are displaying a sense of humor and perspective.

    I’d like to say that … but I don’t like to lie.

    Patterico (e25d4e)

  15. Reporters never seek out people whose opinion mesh nicely with their POV. All is well in NYC, except for the dead babies mother who’ll get to spend the new year morning her offspring’s lifeless corpse.
    But hey, Greg Packer got his delicious pizza, and witnessed the miracle of the New Year’s ball drop.

    vote for pedro (e7577d)

  16. Horses for courses, pedro.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  17. My favorite Packer quote was during a 2008 visit by the Pope to say Mass to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, and Packer told the reporter he was 44 and retired, and oh, by the way, Jewish…but “(t)he homilies bring me out and the togetherness of everybody.”

    Packer is awesome, how he pushes the p.c. buttons of reporters who can hardly wait to publish a story about how they want the world to be, instead of how it really is. The fact that there are still some people who don’t get that he is goofing on the reporter, makes it all the funnier.

    TimesDisliker (e4f5ef)

  18. It seems like Christoph wants to miss the point.

    JD (6e25b4)

  19. Judging from its response a point is unnecessary to comment. Random key strokes seem more appropriate than that last incoherent reply. Obviously , “genius” and Cristoph are never uttered in any conversation, or appear in the same sentence.

    vote for pedro (e7577d)

  20. Packer has had m ore jobs than George Constanza, and is more omnipresent than Zelig, which you would
    think the Daily News would know by now

    narciso (6075d0)

  21. “Reporters never seek out people whose opinion mesh nicely with their POV. All is well in NYC, except for the dead babies mother who’ll get to spend the new year morning her offspring’s lifeless corpse.
    But hey, Greg Packer got his delicious pizza, and witnessed the miracle of the New Year’s ball drop.”

    Your comment is about as big a non-sequitur as one could find, pedro.

    The reporter whose job it was to report on new year’s festivities did so, and captured a frequently quoted guy, this time talking about … new years. Other reporters reported on the tragedy of the baby dying because emergency crews couldn’t get through.

    Speaking of random keystrokes, you managed to make no intelligent point at all in your comment.

    Would the baby be alive if the reporters hadn’t talked to Packer, or written that story, or mentioned that people were alive and enjoying life on New Year’s eve?

    What the hell is wrong with a newspaper running that story, any more than Patterico having a “Happy New Year” post?

    Don’t answer that. I don’t expect anything intelligible from you.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  22. Too bad Packer wasn’t at the Rose Bowl.

    Go Frogs!

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  23. 21.Your comment is about as big a non-sequitur as one could find, pedro. Comment by Christoph — 1/1/2011 @ 5:37 pm

    I’m not trying to pick on you, but it would be just fine if you said something like “yeah, I guess the sarcasm got by me” or “after reading some Greg Packer quotes, I get that the guy is being sarcastic.”

    Pretending that you are misunderstanding (everybody but you understands) Packer’s game is not making you look the way you are so desperately trying to look.

    Piffle like Greg Packer quotes are why the general public holds the media in such poor regard. His quotes have no causal impact on dead babies left for nine hours waiting for EMT help in a lobby. Your response is proof that for some, sarcasm must be used under careful supervision.

    TimesDisliker (e4f5ef)

  24. Horses for courses, pedro.

    Masterful wordsmithing. By all means, submit it for a NCTE Poetry Award under the nom de plume, Greg Packer. You’d be a shoe-in.

    vote for pedro (e7577d)

  25. “Pretending that you are misunderstanding (everybody but you understands) Packer’s game”

    I can’t read the guy’s thoughts, but I don’t think I misunderstand Packer’s game. I think it’s funny and not a big deal. It’s a gag for him. Not something I would do, but if he does it, great.

    I think journalism has a lot of problems, but the fact not every journalist has on the tip of their tongue the name of some guy who likes to be by journalists and give his opinions on a lot of trivial issues is not something that undermines my confidence in journalism.

    He’s like a prank caller — it doesn’t undermine my belief in anything; it’s just funny, and maybe stupid, and occasionally offensive (not that Packer is), but that’s all.

    I can’t use this one data point as the basis for any theory other than people can be pranked.

    I’m more concerned about undeclared and often grossly unfair, beyond-the-pale bias, of which this is irrelevant.

    Christoph (8ec277)

  26. guys, Cristoph is just trolling. He’s always coming into threads to condemn people who didn’t do anything worth condemning (often by projecting that exact behavior as he does in this thread).

    He just wants to tell you he’s better than you, because that’s all he’s capable of contributing.

    Anyway, I’m with timesdisliker. Every time I see another Packer quote, I enjoy another confirmation of how pathetic the MSM is.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  27. Congrats to TCU. After the first quarter, it looked like a race to 50.

    JD (07faa1)

  28. I can’t say I feel for Wisc. TCU is one of the few things Texas football’s got. But as a UT fan…

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  29. Yep, Dustin, you are right. Trolling.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  30. You guys just can’t take contrary opinions, can you?

    Christoph (8ec277)

  31. Being Greg Packer: Joe Biden’s day job?

    This is a big fucking deal let me tell you.

    DeepElemBlues (a78b16)

  32. It has nothing to do with contrary opinions, Christoph. You consistently show an inability or unwillingness to see the basic point that people are discussing. And, yer a douchebag.

    JD (07faa1)

  33. How does Greg Packer find AP reporters in a pack of 1,000,000 people to say he ate a pizza? I guess you could know to horn in on the ABC TV Dick Clark stuff… Maybe he has direct phone lines to TV interview agent types of people. It is somewhat of a hassle to book guests for talk TV shows.

    Wesson (019671)

  34. I’d love to watch Greg Packer in action. He must approach reporters in a way that makes them think they’re approaching him–sort of like the way a magician makes his subject think the subject is making a free and uninfluenced choice when picking a card.

    grs (f6a9ef)

  35. I think journalism has a lot of problems, but the fact not every journalist has on the tip of their tongue the name of some guy who likes to be by journalists and give his opinions on a lot of trivial issues is not something that undermines my confidence in journalism.

    I’m sure that even Walter Duranty wouldn’t have used Gregor Packeroff more that a couple of times during his reporting of Holomodor.

    vote for pedro (e7577d)

  36. that=than

    vote for pedro (e7577d)

  37. greg insidious
    have saddle blanket bridle
    tick will ride the range

    ColonelHaiku (15abe7)

  38. Christoph, when you keep insisting that the issue is whether or not Packer is harming anyone, when its been pointed out that that is not what anyone is saying the issue is, there is little more evidence needed.

    Your opinion is not a “contrary” one, it is an irrelevant one.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  39. Greg Packer is harmless. But he’s a symptom of how easily reporters can be manipulated by publicity-seekers.

    In fairness to my fellow ink-stained wretches, I must point out that reporters often operate under very tight deadlines. Their editors want the stories filed 20 minutes ago. And mirable dictu, there is Packer, looking accessible, near the event, at the front of the line to buy an iPad, ready with a pithy, inoffensive quote that easily fits into the story.

    Editors love this “man in the street” stuff because it (falsely) implies that the reporters are in touch with the public. In reality, we’re just quoting the first three people who will talk to us. It’s journalistic empty calories, but blame the editors who make reporters do this!

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  40. #

    You guys just can’t take contrary opinions, can you?

    Comment by Christoph — 1/1/2011 @ 7:21 pm

    Except in your condemnation, you lied about what the other people here were saying and also showed intolerance of this opinion. No one’s condemning this harmless Packer loser, and the only person in this thread who can’t take contrary views is Cristoph.

    And you know that. It’s troll 101 to accuse people of what you’re doing when the troll is starved for attention, because it’s just that much more annoying and pathetic.

    You were banned here because you were intolerant of people’s niceness (really… that specifically was your big problem). You’re so wounded by this that you feel the need to prove your superiority, even though you’re unable to do that without looking like a moron.

    Bradley’s right, no doubt, that reporters quote Packer out of rushing through their work. Packer goes out of his way to exploit this by providing the perfect generic quotes. Of course, by now, anyone who reads the news is already well aware of this guy, so no reporter who quotes him is taking his profession seriously. That, more than bias, is the core problem with the MSM.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  41. The Greg Packer quotes are symbolic of the one-liners that bulk up today’s ‘news’ stories without adding anything relevant to the information we readers open the paper to obtain.

    Here’s one whole paragraph from the Mayor, in today’s Seattle Times:”Am I sure I know what I’m doing?” McGinn asked. “Am I doing the right thing? I’m always trying to figure out how I can do things better.”

    Greg Packer could do no better at adding zero to our daily information.

    Insufficiently Sensitive (b6274d)

  42. Insufficiently Sensitive,
    The Seattle Times story, in my reading, used the mayor’s generic statement to good effect. The banality of his comment was precisely the point:

    Similarly, McGinn appeared unprepared at his State of the City address, speaking off-the-cuff and skipping the thank-yous and niceties that are expected in the mayor’s annual speech to the council.

    “Am I sure I know what I’m doing?” McGinn asked. “Am I doing the right thing? I’m always trying to figure out how I can do things better.”

    By his September budget address, McGinn had mastered more of the theater of being mayor. He packed the Rainier Beach Community Center with supporters and presented a budget that attempted to shift more city resources to poorer communities.”

    Your general point is correct, of course.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  43. Brother Fikes,

    From this reader’s viewpoint, the first and third paras you quote are news, but the second – banal, narcissistic or whatever – could be cut with no loss to the story.

    The Times did devote vast space to it, bulked up by big photos and other space-fillers. More evidence to this reader that we’re being sold more form and less content. But then, we also realize that the Times is losing money, just like its un-subsidized colleagues, and economic reality can bite.

    Insufficiently Sensitive (b6274d)

  44. packer like crabgrass
    invasive and will not lay
    dormant in Winter

    ColonelHaiku (15abe7)

  45. I’m sorry, but what are the odds, regardless of how rushed a reporter is, that the same individual in a city with millions of residents, can be interviewed and quoted so often? I call bullsh!t!!!

    vote for pedro (e7577d)

  46. “I’d love to watch Greg Packer in action. He must approach reporters in a way that makes them think they’re approaching him”

    He’d be one heck of a “pick-up artist” if that was his thing, eh?

    Christoph (8ec277)

  47. With the general state of distrust of the media that exists in the world beyond the “city desk”,
    how unaware of reality does a reporter have to be to entrust the opinions of someone who willingly, eagerly talks to him?

    AD-RtR/OS! (a9d180)

  48. How difficult would it be for them to google Greg Packer?

    JD (07faa1)

  49. You Jesuslandler anti-science bible-humping conservatives obviously do not understand the brilliant intellectual dishonesty of Christoph. He is difficult to misunderestimate in his obtuseness.

    daleyrocks (a82d72)

  50. Every month the Pittsburg Penguins hold a team shoot out and whoever loses has to grow a mustache and for a month live with his new name: “Mustache Boy.” I think if a journalist uses a Greg Packer quote he should have to suffer just the same. As for women journalists…they can work something it out.

    PC14 (4a4ed3)

  51. Insufficiently Sensitive,
    The reason I would use this particular quote is because it back up the story’s claim about the mayor’s remarks with (I presume) the mayor’s exact words. Without those words, we are left with just the reporter’s opinion about the State of the City address. As a reader, I find that vexing. If a reporter makes a claim, I want it backed up.

    My own pet peeve is that much of the coverage in newspapers is dumbed down, because editors have a phobia about appearing too high-brow. They want to reach the LCD, even though more educated types are bored to tears. This was true even when papers had more staffers, and the problem appears to be getting worse. There was a story on desalination in the Los Angeles Times that I found pretty thin on facts and perspective, starting with the stupid and misleading lead. I wonder how the story ever got past the LAT’s four (today probably two) layers of editors.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  52. I’m sorry, but what are the odds, regardless of how rushed a reporter is, that the same individual in a city with millions of residents, can be interviewed and quoted so often?

    Quite high, if the individual uses loaded dices.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  53. Quite high, if the individual uses loaded dices.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 1/2/2011 @ 11:53 am

    The probablity is impossible! You’d have better odds of getting struck by lightning, bitten by a shark, and have an intelligent conversation with Cristoph, in the same week.

    vote for pedro (e7577d)

  54. vote for pedro,
    It’s quite possible; I assure you as a reporter. Packer knows how to get quoted; he goes to news events, acts like Joe Average (the person journalists are told to seek quotes from), and above all is retired so he has plenty of time to cultivate his hobby.

    As for Christoph, would people please ease up a bit? He made a valid point that Packer’s quote-mill habit isn’t an earth-shaking injustice. It’s more like an embarrassing look at the sphexish way of quote-getting journalists. If journalism editors didn’t have this man-on-the-street fixation (justly mocked by The Onion), Packer wouldn’t be such an issue.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  55. Nah, Christoph’s a bigot and I don’t have any patience for trash like that.

    Bradley’s right, of course, that Packer’s not worth getting upset about, but that wasn’t anyone’s point. He’s weird, but the point here is that the MSM is an embarrassment.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  56. Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 1/2/2011 @ 1:59 pm

    So you’re saying that he knew the location of every news event where he was quoted? I didn’t know that reporters and news crews notified the public in advance where they’d be filming, like Joe’s Pizzeria at 10 PM.
    As for Cristoph, he’s the one who couldn’t understand why I used mocking hyperbole, and distinguish between Patterico’s light hearted jab versus the real criticism of journalistic ethics.
    Be here for Sock Puppet Friday!

    vote for pedro (e7577d)

  57. when faced with hot mike
    in heat of battle must ask
    what would Packer do?

    ColonelHaiku (15abe7)

  58. when Greg Packer say
    I just a man on the street
    be prepared to laugh

    TimesDislaiku (3db299)

  59. vote for pedro
    So you’re saying that he knew the location of every news event where he was quoted?

    Yes. Packer knows what events are likely to attract the media’s attention. And since he’s retired, he has plenty of time to figure these things out. It’s really not that difficult.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (fb9e90)

  60. Greg Packer is worse than Hitler.

    (Sorry, I’m having low blood sugar right now.)

    Gregory of Yardale (5f930d)

  61. Pedro, Packer may not be clairvoyant, but he’s quoted at places that are predictable for fluff pieces. An iphone product launch or a major baseball game. Stuff on schedule.

    Just look at this example. New Years at Times Square. Over the years, Packer’s figured out how to attract lazy reporters for that generic man on the street blurb for the pointless product the papers put those into.

    Also, he is the antichrist.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  62. Pedro, Packer may not be clairvoyant, but he’s quoted at places that are predictable for fluff pieces. An iphone product launch or a major baseball game. Stuff on schedule.

    I need him picking my lottery numbers. No wonder he retired so early.

    vote for pedro (e7577d)

  63. Given the number of people at Times Square, finding a reporter willing to quote you could not be exactly easy.

    JD (6fed24)

  64. That’s true, JD. Packer’s been doing this forever and probably has a better idea exactly how to find a reporter and get him to quote you. Packer probably has developed his hobby quite a bit.

    Because he is pure concentrated evil.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  65. No, I think most journolists are pure concentrated evil, so maybe he devloped a sensor to detect and locate them.

    JD (6fed24)

  66. I would like to know Packer’s honest opinion about these dopes.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  67. I would like to know Packer’s honest opinion about these dopes.

    Why don’t you interview him? I hear he’s really accessible.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  68. LOL, that’s a very good point, Bradley.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  69. Note I said most, which is a construct that excludes those like Brother Bradley.

    JD (6fed24)

  70. No worries, JD. I feel like you toward the closed-minded folks that give journalists a bad name.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  71. Brother Bradley for the win.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  72. Greg Packer’s no signal of crisis
    he merely abuses devices
    to get useless drivels
    emplaced in press snivels
    whose prints represent loaded dices.

    BURMA SHAVE

    Insufficiently Sensitive (b6274d)


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