Laden With Lunacy,
But Not A Front Page Story . . . Yet!
are not in the business of criticizing the dailies. Newspapers have a
tough enough job without making things worse by taking swipes at each
living in a newsroom, we regularly react, pick apart and comment on the
content, presentation and quality of the City’s dailies – in
discussion, not in print.
this is an exception. We think the City edition of Newsday was
over the top last Wednesday when they took their exclusive of Councilman
Allan Jennings’ love advertisement for an Asian woman and played it
all over the front page.
26, 2003 inside a
“war front wrap” was the Newsday front
page: (left) the New York City version promoting the story of Councilman
Allan Jennings and his love for Asian women; (right) the Long Island
version heralding the Senate slashing Bush’s tax cut plan.
liked the story and would have run it ourselves, but not on page one.
in all fairness to Newsday, the front page last Wednesday was
wrapped in a special war section, so that the front was slightly
demoted. But wrapper or not, there stands the Newsday flag
proudly waving on one with the Jennings “Love Connection” headline
and love advertisement in a Chinese language paper.
us, it looked like a “hit job” on the lanky, loony Councilman. You
got a story, you run it. You got a story laden with lunacy, you run it .
. . but not on the front!
Newsday – the paper of record of Long Island – selected a
different front page story for their flagship edition. The editors in
Melville thought that the Senate slashing the President’s tax cut was
more significant. They also chose a head shot of George W. and not Allan
J. The Nassau County Newsday had the same “war wrap,” it even
contained an abbreviated version of the Jennings nonsense, but it chose
a story of substance to put on the front.
Queens Boulevard editors, on the other hand, printed the same “Tax Cut
Slashed” story – they “referred” it above the flag – and
devoted the balance of the front to promoting their page and a half hit
on Jennings. They even got respected columnist Ellis Henican – I
believe he’s a Queens boy – to forego the war and use his space on
page two to poke fun at Jennings.
Managing Editor for Queens John Mancini – who coincidentally got his
start at the Queens Tribune – told us that he stands by
the decision. He felt the exclusive on Jennings belonged on the front.
we all love exclusives, but every paper in this City knew Jennings was
off the wall – that was not a scoop. A love letter ad in an Asian
paper or even an infatuation with women from the east is more front page
for the Enquirer or the Star than your paper. We’d love
to know what the newsroom in Melville or Chicago thought of this one.
Thursday follow-up, revealing that Jennings’ ex-wife has accused him
of domestic violence, is more the stuff people should know about.
Jennings adventure began after he won his Queens Council seat in
District 28 (Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, and South Ozone
Park) against the Dem organization candidate. Jennings, a hard worker,
had previously prevailed for District Leader over the Dem
our timetable of Jennings jive may be slightly imperfect, but this is
how we recall the bizarre adventures of Councilman Allan J.
Feb, 7, 2002 – just after his election – this paper’s QConf page
ran a bit of satire about the newly elected Councilman and a gay porn
star with the same name, titled “The Naked Truth” (below, left).
reacted by declaring me a racist and threatening to sue this paper.
following week I wrote in this column: “When
we first heard of Jennings’ vicious attack in reaction to the item, we
asked editor Tamara Hartman whether she thought we had gone too far.
there was a gay porn star named Mike Bloomberg would you have gone with
it?’ she asked.
put it all into perspective. Of course we would have gone with it if it
were the Mayor — especially if it were the Mayor.
didn’t pick on Jennings because he’s more pickable-on than most. We
didn’t pick on him because he was perhaps a bit different from most of
the elected officials — black, white or green — that we’ve met. We
picked on him because one of our reporters, in doing her research, came
upon a gay porn star with his name.
it. That’s all. That simple!
the reference at the end of the item, ‘Hmmm! Does the Councilman have
any secrets he’s hiding?’ was a plain and simple reaction to the
fact that Councilman Allan Jennings had recently – on two different
occasions – quickly jumped off the phone during interviews when asked
if he was recently married. Again, no malice was intended. We just found
it very strange that community members reported to us that Jennings was
married after the election but before he took office and Jennings was
avoiding any discussion about his marital status.
taste? Perhaps. But we don’t think so. Did we mean to offend Jennings?
No. Are we upset that he’s off the wall? His problem.
Council members have told us: ‘Jennings wants blood.’ ‘He’s
going to war with you.’ ‘He’s going to sue you.’ ‘He’s off
the wall.’ ‘Jennings protests too much.’”
we dropped the pursuit of his wife. It appears there was a story there.
adventure continued when Jennings identified some undercover cops by
name, bringing the wrath of Mayor Bloomberg and Commish Kelly for
endangering NY’s Finest.
he insisted that he only be photographed from his left side and stopped
a committee hearing to move a camera around.
again made headlines when he opened an expensive, state-of-the-art
district office and then wanted to use City funds to buy himself a car.
passionately opposed the Miller term limit “tweak,” speaking out
against it on NY1 television. The next day (presumably after he found
out it prevented his predecessor from challenging him this year), he
became a cosponsor of the legislation.
publicly attacked the Council Speaker’s Chief of Staff Forrest Taylor
– a no-no for players.
the black lover of Chinese women applied for membership in the Jewish
caucus announcing his mother was a Jew. Oy vey!
Jennings attempted to woo several other Councilmembers by sending them
Valentine’s Day cards with his face in a heart (below).
removed from a committee for opposing the 18 percent increase in
property tax, Jennings took a crucifix-like pose on the Council floor
and likened himself to Jesus.
we find out from Newsday that he has placed ads in Asian-language
papers, pledging his love for a Chinese woman and declaring his marriage
to a Taiwanese woman ended because her family rejected him because of
finally, his Taiwanese ex-wife, according to Newsday, explains
the marriage ended because of Jennings temper and domestic violence.
next chapter for the “Councilman from the moon” – as one of his
collegues called him – is likely being written by Jennings’
predecessor, former Councilman Tom White, whose eligibility to run for
his old seat was just affirmed by the court which threw out the term
limits “tweak” on which we saw Jennings do his public flip-flop.
tuned, this one could make headlines . . . yet!
leisurely conducting an internet search on District 28 City Councilman Allan
Jennings, we discovered that the politician shares a name with a
well-known and gay porn star.
men spell their names the same way and are in the public arena — in
slightly different capacities. Allan Jennings the porn star has
performed in dozens of erotic movies, including many titles that cannot
be repeated here. Allan Jennings the politician has given dozens of
speeches and held dozens of fundraisers leading up to his unlikely
searching a bit more, the Conf scribe couldn’t find a
photo of Jennings the porn star. Could it be these two men are the same
person? Could this be a case of, “I was young. I needed the money”?
According to a member of Allan Jennings’ City Hall office,
“Absolutely, positively, for certain, no way on this Earth. No way, no
way, no way.”
Does the Councilman have any secrets he’s hiding?
Councilman’s Valentine’s Wish?
especially for you by:
Tribune exclusive that waited a month: We were given this
Valentine’s Day card by one of the Councilmembers who received it from
Queens Councilman Allan Jennings. Jennings’ staff did not know how
many members it was sent to. Jennings did not get back to us. We share
with you the juxtaposition of the message and its presentation. Score
another one for the “Councilman from the moon.”
by Dom Nunziato
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com
Click Here For The Not 4 Publication Archives