Monday, January 04, 2010

Prevarication in the Eye of the Beholder

On Saturday, the NY Daily News continued with its vendetta against Sate Senator Hiram Monseratte-accusing him of being a, "lying brute unfit to stay in the Legislature." It does so with a report that has yet to be shared with either Monseratte or his lawyers-and that the News even admits was " unfortunately leaked."

So much for a fair and open process-and while we're on the subject of lying, and the News has no basis for the accusation against Hiram other than was was gleaned from a leaked prosecutorial document that has yet to be be publicly vetted, how about the paper's other editorial on Saturday?

In that fawning bit of laudatory idolatry the News hails the third term mayor: "Embarking on the third term that he was not supposed to have but that the voters wisely bestowed,Michael Bloombergpledged to attack the second hardest job inAmericawith full-speed-ahead drive."

And the News avoids any harsh accusations here for the mayor's own rather public display of proven prevarication-his failure to honor his own commitment to term limits-saying only that he should: "Heal the breach lingering from the term limits fight by producing measurable improvements in the quality of life."

So, on the one hand with Monseratte, we have a leaked report that leads the News to conclude the senator is a "lying brute; while on the other hand we have a mayor who, using the current economic crisis as a phony rationale, breaks a public pledge to the voters-prompting, not opprobrium from Morticia, but flatulent flattery. Maybe if Hiram had a few billion dollars and could use the money like Bloomberg to purchase support (and traveled in the same private club circuit as Zuckerman), he would be treated with greater care.

And in the News' 445 word epistle to the Lord Mayor of New York, we hear nary a discouraging word about Bloomberg's responsibility for the economic crisis the city finds itself in-although we get the kind of allusion that can only be interpreted by academics trained in semiotics: "The inaugural for Bloomberg III was a muted, businesslike affair, in keeping with a double-digit unemployment rate and severe budgetary troubles that threaten to slow movement toward a safer, smarter, more livable city. What's coming - particularly the impact ofAlbany's irresponsibility - ruled this out as a time for trumpets."

So, for those who aren't trained to read between the lines of a text, we point out what the News fails to do-that the city's double digit unemployment rate and budgetary woes are a consequence of the inabilities of the mayor. And throughout the past year, while bitch slapping Albany (and the Monseratte vendetta is symbolic), the News hasn't even used kid gloves to chastise the Lord Mayor.

As the NY Times pointed out in reporting on the mayor's New Year's speech: "One issue that Mr. Bloomberg did not address in great detail was the economy, even though he cited his expertise in financial matters as a rationale for his controversial decision in 2008 to push to overturn term limits. Then again, his aides also note that Mr. Bloomberg is expected to reveal more substantive proposals in his State of the City address in a few weeks. Several weeks after that, he is expected to unveil his budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning in July, in which the city faces a multibillion-dollar deficit, high rates of home foreclosures and a 10 percent unemployment rate."

But, while there will never be any mayor culpas from the News, the NY Post weighs in with the obvious: "The mayor's top task is plain as day: to preserve the city's quality of life and vital services despite a daunting state and city fiscal squeeze -- without the additional economic damage another round of municipal tax hikes, or another borrowing binge, would bring. That's how he got through the post-9/11 economic crisis -- and it was wrong then, too."

Or, as the Post fails to point out, without adding to the size of municipal government-with all of the added personnel costs that such reckless behavior has created. So, in our view, what we have from the Daily News is class-based analysis, a perspective that eschews any real hard evaluation of the mayor's tenure, but issues colorfully biased woof tickets against a lone state senator as an effective subject changer from the more trenchant evaluation of why the city faces such daunting challenges after eight years of Utopian Bloombergian rule.