de Blasio on de Blasio
Full Court Press
Mayor Bill de Blasio today acknowledged that his young administration had endured several “bumps” in its first two months, but said it’s still too early to judge his progress.
In an interview with ABC 7, Mr. de Blasio also denied that he’d grown “testy” with the media, despite a spate of negative coverage, beginning with his decision not to shutter schools during the last major snow storm and a call he placed to police on behalf of an arrested supporter.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today unveiled his new press team, rolling out a lineup that includes many old faces and loyal longtime aides.
Over the coming years, these men and women will serve as Mr. de Blasio’s voice and help to shape his message as he puts his mark on the city.
The Fourth Estate
Mayor Bill de Blasio will appoint Phil Walzak to serve as his press secretary, sources confirmed.
Mr. Walzak, a longtime member of Mr. de Blasio’s campaign communications team, previously worked as a spokesman for Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and as President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign spokesman in the Badger State.
The Fourth Estate
Riding in a van with reporters on his five borough tour yesterday, candidate Bill Thompson weighed in on the media storm that has engulfed Anthony Weiner since he jumped into the mayoral race two weeks ago.
“If anything, I didn’t know that CNN was interested in this election,” Mr. Thompson said with a smile. “It has created additional media attention–that it has done. I don’t know if it’s increased the attention on the public’s part but I know it has increased media attention,” he said. “Other than that, I don’t know that there is any real change.”
According to the NYPD, New York Times photographer Robert Stolarik “violently resisted” being arrested Saturday night and “inadvertently struck” an officer after he got too close to police who were dealing with another suspect. Mr. Stolarik and Times attorney George Freeman dispute this account and claim he was kicked and beaten by the police after simply attempting to do his job. After a long winter that was filled with clashes between New York City’s press and police at Occupy Wall Street, Mr. Freeman told The Politicker this incident shows the NYPD has failed on its promise not to interfere with those who cover the news on city streets. As for, Mr. Stolarik, he just wants to get his cameras and press pass back.
In a press availability with reporters this afternoon Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shot down a reporter’s question using some rather colorful language.
“I don’t want to answer that question. That’s a clown question bro,” Mr. Reid said eliciting laughs.
After the arrest of reporters during the Occupy Wall Street protests, the NYPD took a lot of heat from elected officials and media groups. The Occupy incidents also sparked criticism of the department’s media credentialing procedures in this publication and elsewhere, but Commissioner Ray Kelly doesn’t think the NYPD has problems with the press.
“I think we’re doing well. I think we have a good relationship with the press,” Mr. Kelly said in response to a question from The Politicker during a Q&A with reporters following his appearance before the City Council Public Safety Committee this morning.
In the last two months, Mayor Bloomberg’s relationship with the media has become increasingly rocky as he drew criticism from news organizations and press advocacy groups for arresting reporters and restricting press access at the Occupy Wall Street protests. But before he was taking heat for his treatment of the press, Mayor Bloomberg was a media mogul who vigorously defended the rights of journalists.
In a nearly fourteen year old clip unearthed by The Politicker from CSpan’s voluminous archives, Mayor Bloomberg, who was at the time CEO the news company he founded, Bloomberg L.P., praised journalists as a global force for justice against evil politicians. He also gave a remarkably prescient prediction of the coming layoffs and technological changes facing the media. “We journalists are the ones that did bring down the evil empire, we are the ones charged with watching the watchers, we are the ones that opened China, we are the ones that have stopped genocide and starvation in many places in the world,” Mayor Bloomberg said.