Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Needed: Public Advocate for the Tabs

In our post this morning on the disgraceful cutting of the Public Advocate's budget, we derided the NY Post's snide clamoring-piling on while, simultaneously, shamelessly shilling for Deep Pockets Bloomberg. We did, however, miss the expected choral agreement from the equally supine NY Daily News.

And the paper didn't disappoint: "When last heard from, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum ... er ... when was Betsy Gotbaum last heard from? Oh, right. She was a witness in the Brooke Astor trial. Now, she is worked up that Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn pushed through a budget that cuts public advocate funding from $2.8 million to $1.7 million. She charges political evildoing, revenge for opposing extended term limits. If only her office were consequential enough to merit payback. It ain't. It's like an appendix, useless but prone every now and then to flaring up with press releases. Long ago, it should have been excised."

Well, you know, the News may be right if our local editorialists did their job-kind of like what the paper's Mike Goodwin is doing to the president-holding the powerful more accountable. Instead we get editorial after editorial; with the News playing, "can you top that," with the Post-in the effort to see who can climb inside the mayor's shorts first.

So, we do need the PA more than ever when the news climate resembles Pravda's control of public information in the old Soviet Union. But, perhaps, the Advocate's role can be redefined, and the office's renewed focus can be on holding the press barons accountable for their dereliction of duty.