We mastodons who still receive our daily dose of New York Times when the dead-tree version lands on our doorsteps with a dull thud got a special treat Tuesday, a textbook case of the way “the newspaper of record” goes about its business these days. The front page headline read: “Comey Role Recalls Hoover’s F.B.I., Fairly or Not.”
In one respect, the headline seemed almost banal. Why not compare James Comey with J. Edgar Hoover on the front page of the Times? After all, they’ve both worked as director of the FBI — Comey currently, of course, and Hoover for nearly half a century, from 1924 to 1972, though it seemed longer.
Yet there the similarities surely end. Comey, just for starters, is more than six and a half feet tall. Hoover would have had to wear lifts to qualify for the Lollipop Guild. Hoover, moreover, was a petty, paranoid bureaucrat who abused his self-bestowed power in shadowy secrecy. Comey is a law enforcement officer who has unintentionally created a commotion by trying to make his actions as transparent as possible.