Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Media Moguls Stick Together

Kudos to Wayne Barrett for his "Bloombucks Bonuses" to the publishers of the Times, News, Post and Observer. He makes a compelling case that the press titans were in the tank for their billionaire brother. In particular, Barrett underscores what we have said all along: the coverage of the campaign (the Daily News' burying of the Apollo debate that the mayor skipped is one of the more egregious examples) aided and abetted the Bloomberg ad blitz by highlighting Freddy's perceived gaffs and underplaying all of the mayor's.

Barrett's citing of the Fulani coverage is a case in point. Can anyone imagine what the four papers in question would have done if Ferrer had embraced this anti-Semitic whacko? Yet the papers did think that the blog autobiography fiasco of Ferrer's was big news despite the fact that Fulani remarked Jews are "mass murderers of people of color."

In addition, the almost amnesiac treatment of the Bloomberg flip flop on taxes has to be considered a whitewash, particularly by the Post that had been skewering the mayor on the tax front (and resumed doing so immediately after the Bloomberg victory).

And what happened to those great Bloomberg ticket blitz stories that the News had front-paged for days in 2003? (More amnesia we think). The Times gets a booby prize in this context for disregarding its own signature campaign finance issue to endorse the mayor and extol his potential "greatness." (only to ungraciously upbraid him on the morning of his victory for spending all of the money he did- a kind of morning after lover's regret that ends up with an accusation that the relations weren't consensual).

All of which underscores what we have been saying about the role of the media when a multi-billionaire is spending money to close off debate: greater vigilance is an absolutely necessary component of insuring even a modicum of fairness in the electoral process. In this regard the NY press gets a failing grade (and this was a take-home test).