The Times has some good in-depth coverage of the debate flap today although we'd question whether the backlash issue stressed by the paper has the potential, because of Al Sharpton, to have a racial blowback for Freddy. The Apollo setting does have significance for blacks but the larger resonance may well be, as Joyce Purnick's good column highlights($), the impact of the mayor acting as a censor. What is still disappointing, however, is the continued omission in the Times' coverage of this issue of any correlation with the mayor's campaign spending. The mayoral money binge is precisely why Bloomberg's ducking is so egregiously censorious. Also, the Daily News continues to lowlight the debate issue. Today they subhead the fracas and highlight instead the mayor's press conference on his minority employment initiative; it's looking quite like they're providing racial cover for Mike. The Post, knowing a good campaign story when they see it- in spite of where the paper's political sentiments may lie - dramatizes the affair with an empty chair drawing in honor of the mayor's absence.