If the New York Times had a story about how Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) is older than dirt, yet refuses to retire from public service, stating his exact age would be relevant to the article. Or if there was a piece about disgraced former Sen. Ted Stevens, nearly as old as dirt, being granted concessions during criminal proceedings because of his advanced years, his age would also be a key detail.
But I don’t see any editorial justification for stating the ages of Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Jane Harman in a passage concerning their less-than-BFF relationship, unless David Herszenhorn intended to imply they are a couple of old bags catfighting like teenage girls.
In a story about Pelosi’s knowledge of the recorded conversation between Harman and an Israeli spy, and her decision to not appoint her colleague to head the House Intel Committee, Herszenhorn writes:
While the two women do not display overt hostility, Ms. Harman seems to have never quite gotten over the slight. Colleagues say that since Ms. Pelosi, 69, thwarted her ambitions for a more prominent role on security issues, Ms. Harman, 63, has grown weary of Congress and has been eyeing a post in the Obama administration, perhaps as an ambassador.
A cursory review of the NYT’s other recent political coverage did not reveal another instance of reporting the age of any member of Congress or government official, so why this? Does Herszenhorn think that these women should be too old for this kind of political tussle?