Wednesday, August 31, 2005

NY Daily News Needs Public Editor

We have already published our comments on the Daily News story that focuses attention on Mayor Bloomberg's economic policies. As we pointed out the story's headline about "mixed messages" inhered to the column alone. The story itself was exclusively laudatory and failed to even point out a single negative aspect of the mayor's approach to policy making in this area.

Exacerbating this omission was the story's failure to even mention small business. We do know, however, that the reporter interviewed a number of representatives from the small business community. So what's going on down on 33rd Street?

The News has been running a series on the mayor's record in office as he runs for re-election. The paper's latest missive is about schools and it reads quite frankly as if it emerged fully grown from the mayor's political womb. The same can be said about the other so-called stories.

What is particularly egregious about this thinly masked electioneering in the guise of news is that it is clearly help that the mayor doesn't need. He has already spent over $10 million in TV advertising and a bundle more on radio ads and glossy targeted mailings. All of this free spending is reflected in the mayor's poll standings which show that the mayor would probably win a Democratic primary without a run-off.

All of which should give the editors at the News a desire for a greater degree of fairness not less. The economy is, in fact, a major weakness in the record of the Bloomberg administration. If the comments we made to their reporter had been allowed to see the light of day they would have reflected the grave dissatisfaction among small business owners with the mayor's policies.

In addition, how do you talk about the city's economy without any discussion of tax and regulatory policies which surveys recognize as the main variable in all economic growth but particularly for the productivity small businesses?

In addition, a report was issued yesterday that cited NYC as the only major city to experience a growth in its poverty rate. This dovetails nicely with Wayne Barrett's piece on Freddy Ferrer in this week's Village Voice. Barrett talks about the issue of structural poverty and how it's not getting the attention it deserves in this campaign.

What should we expect? The Bloomberg economic development folks are cruising along on $1 a year. All their plans involve mega-projects that displace smaller firms. The biggest fraud in the mayor's own commercials is the one where he is shown standing in front of a neighborhood store. As we have continually pointed out before this administration is easily the most anti-small business in the last thirty years.

Maybe its time for the News to adopt the Times' approach and hire a public editor. If they did we might be able to witness more balance and not see the kind of abject toadying during an election cycle that we are being bombarded with this week.