By: Gary Tilzer
Last Sunday morning the Jewish Voice predicted that the Times Square shootings would interrupt and change the NYC mayoral campaign. Our point was that most New Yorkers were not paying attention to the race, but they would connect and focus on the shooting in a symbolic place that they considered safe, which would generate media energy that would ricochet in the interruption of the mayor’s race.
Newspapers Respond to Shooting Fast
Boom, both the NY Post and NY Times used the shooting to make what looks like a long-planned strategy to endorse the candidate of their choice for Mayor
We now have a newspaper business that has been decimated by the internet; and as such have made feckless attempts to become the big players in NYC politics as they once were. (see Back to the Future Moment below) The battle for public acceptance is now between the weakened NY Times and the NY Post and the campaign consultant lobbyists who have filled the void left by the failing newspapers over the last 20 years. Will the New Yorkers listen to the NY Times and NY Post (the Daily News is homeless) or be swayed by the talking points written by the lobbyists and distributed by most of the local media. In order for the NY Times to win City Hall for their independent candidate–former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, they will not only have to get their message out but will also have to defeat the city’s machines, including the old party machines, the new lobbyists/ideological machines like the WFP, the unions and even Wall Street with the bankers who were on the NY Times’ team for decades.
If the Times endorsement shows anything, it is how isolated and clueless from a changed NYC that the Paper of Record has become. As the NY Post and Fox’s Tucker Carlson endorse a nonconservative Adams for mayor, it should be noted that he was a leader in 100 Black Men in Law Enforcement which challenged shooting by the NYPD often. The Times, stuck in an ideological bubble that they created seems to have missed the changes that the Post and Carlson have seen. Even former President Obama is dismayed that there was no longer “a common baseline of fact,” with many people choosing to ignore the truth if it goes against their political beliefs.
Adams to NY Times: A Tale of Two Cities “No Fun”
The long time NY Times editorial board member Eleanor Randolph asked about making NY fun. He responded: “You know what’s interesting, Eleanor? New York was not fun. If you are living in NYCHA, with lead paint, no heat, that wasn’t fun.”
Upon their endorsement of Eric Adams for mayor of New York City, the NY Post wrote: “From riding the rails with a badge, to serving in state government, to his current job as Brooklyn borough president, Adams has a depth of experience that would serve him well in City Hall.” Eric Adams was not shy about touting his endorsement from the conservative NY Post editorial board, even as he called himself a “real” progressive. “They don’t line up with all of my views,” he said, but he claimed they know he’s “going to keep this city affordable, clean and safe.”
The official oracle of NYC politics Jerry Skurnik says the Times made a difference in the following major elections: In 1976 when the Times endorsed Daniel Patrick Moynihan over Bella Abzug, in 1973 when the Times got Herman Badillo into the mayoral runoff and in 1977 when the Times endorsement of Carol Bellamy was key to her winning the Council President election. Skurnik says that the NY Times endorsement of Green over Ferrer in 2001 could have been significant but no city-wide endorsements by the Times since then has made a real difference.
The Task the NY Times faces to elect Garcia is immense. The lack of influence the Times has had on the mayoral and other campaigns. The de Blasio funded PAC NYCLASS and run by lobbyists from the Advance Group, had more on the 2013 mayoral campaign than the Times and Daily News’ endorsement of Speaker Quinn.
The media’s fear the woke armies of the internet; their fear in connecting the city’s rising shootings prior to the Times Square shooting; to the mayor’s race is astonishing and a cancer on journalism. NY media star Lis Smith who the Times says is forming a PAC for Yang said on Twitter last week said, “The death of local press is not overstated.”
The Day After the Shooting the Two Leading Candidates Go to Times Square
Immediately two candidates understood the importance of the shooting and held press conferences denouncing defunding the police. Actually, Adams held two news conferences sandwiching Yang’s press conference. Both candidates also touted their commitment to criminal justice reform.
Despite being a longtime critic of the NYPD, Eric Adams has a strong anti-crime platform that includes restoring the anti-crime unit that was cut last year to find guns. Adams says NYPD anti-crime reforms showed responsiveness to the city’s most needy residents, including some black neighborhoods suffering the brunt of violent crime. Yang said he would ensure his plainclothes unit was populated by better-trained officers with clean records. Mr. Adams has said he would hire officers for the unit with the skills and temperament for the job. Yang said: Nothing works in our city without public safety, and for public safety, we need the police,” Mr. Yang said. The Times wrote Sunday After Times Square Shooting, Adams, and Yang Stress Support for N.Y.P.D..
The Other Candidates Stayed in Their Ideological or Campaign Consultant Bubble
At a press availability outside a church in Brooklyn, Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mr. de Blasio who has embraced some of the defund movement’s goals, said she would invest in “trauma-informed” mental health care and summer youth employment programs.
Other moderate candidates like the former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia and the former Citigroup executive Raymond J. McGuire, chimed in with similar themes – that public safety and strong policing need not come at the expense of criminal justice reform.
Mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia laid out her plan for ending gun violence in New York City the day after her Times endorsement, including a proposal to increase the rebate rate on the gun buyback program from $200 to $2,000.
Ray McGuire Tweeted “The simple fact is no safety, no city.” Read my full statement here.”
Scott Stringer Tweeted “Once again we are witness to another tragedy. Enough. We must end gun violence in our communities, get guns off our streets, and enact change to keep New Yorkers safe.
Newspapers Back to the Future Moment?
In 2009, Village Voice reporter Tom Robbins wrote in “The Mayor’s Press Pass” about the important role strong newspaper business historically played in running the city. “When this city enjoyed four fat daily newspapers, (it had over a dozen in the 1950’s) editors clamored for a strong, tough copy to fill them. Whenever scandal-hit each one scrambled after the story. Local TV news, which gets its morning bearings from the dailies, gleefully joined the hunt as well. This happy combination produced many full-strength competitive media pile-on and visible shivers in City Hall,” he said. The media pile on a single story according to Robbins produce a critical mass, which fully educated the public about an important issue. Critical mass coverage by the newspaper he said served were “our eyes of the government, our check on political abuses, our civic alarm system.”
The Times Square shooting media pile-on has reached what Robbins called critical mass and it has brought shivers to the current mayor’s race. Both the NY Times and NY Post reacted to the media attention produced by the shooting to endorse the candidates of their choice.
Do NY News Stands Still Have Newspaper?
Both papers are acting like there has been no disruption there has been no destruction to the successful newspaper business timeline. The big question is will the two newspaper be able to gain the attention of the public to elect their chosen candidate? The odds against the Times are exceedingly long, 20 to 1. The odds against the Post are not exceptionally long because Adams has a strong grassroots campaign, with machines and other candidates with proven GOTV operations in Bronx and Queens.
NY Daily News: “Most NYC You Can Get?
Years ago the NY Daily News attacked the discontinued city edition of Newsday for not being New York enough because it was put together in Long Island. Today’s NY Daily News is put together in Chicago.
Professor Paul Starr, the distinguished Princeton scholar maintains that NYC lost its most important leaders because of the dying newspaper business. Starr said NYC’s newspapers used to set the public agenda, served as the, and credibly represented themselves as symbolizing and speaking for the city. Starr focal point of controversy maintains damage done by dying newspaper business by the digital revolution has weakened the ability of the newspapers to act as an effective agent of public accountability.
The NY Daily News Headline Got Federal Funding for the City
Professor Starr also maintains that strong newspapers provided the public a powerful means of leverage over the state, and this leverage is now at gone. If we take seriously the notion of newspapers as a fourth estate or a fourth branch of government, the end of the age of newspapers implies a change in our political system itself. The private consultant lobbyist machine which has normalized pay to play has the major change to NY politics in the last decade. The Assembly Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos corruption conviction and the pay-to-play investigation of de Blasio all involved lobbyists consultants.
In addition to the economic damage done to NYC by the virus, the impact of the COVID-19 has suddenly exposed a vastly different NY political system and government than most New Yorkers knew of. These changes have been happening for years to the city govt and political system in the shadows, known only to insiders, over the last two decades since the newspaper business began dying. A leaderless NYC, mismanaged, out of control. A mayor, governor operating in their PR bubbles. New Yorkers feeling disconnected, alienated unable to hold their elected officials accountable, leaving a city they no longer recognize.
The Project for Excellence in Journalism from the Pew Research Center project explains what happens when reporting is reduced. “The decline in newspapers in the last two decades, including gutting of circulation, editorial and reporting staffs, means: More of American life will occur in shadows. We won’t know what we won’t know.” Pew research also said the strong newspapers business era provide most of the original coverage of public affairs. When they were financially strong, newspapers were better able not only to invest in long-term investigative projects but also to stand up against pressure from politicians and industries to suppress unfavorable stories. A financially compromised press is more likely to be ethically compromised and no longer looks for corruption in government. Professor Starr maintains that is not only the newspaper readers that do not know: Starr argues that fewer reporters do not just mean less coverage, but also a lower quality of reports, as expertise is lost, and internal checks disappear.
Is Senator Schumer Misinformed by the Press About the Left’s Threat on Him in 2022?
The Pew Center also said governmental corruption will increase with the decrease of newspaper scrutiny, especially since online news sources, when not borrowing from newspapers, are more focused on opinion from the Internet and more susceptible to bias than the print press.
Clearly, the weak NYC newspapers missed important political changes. Left-wing activists with access to funding have targeted gentrified neighborhoods, winning important races, moving NY’s government to the left. There were no newspaper stories about AOC challenge to Queens county boss Congressman Joe Crowley in 2018, until after she won the primary. Newspaper lightly reported in 2018 on the elections that led to the fall of the fall of the joint republican and IDC democrats control of the state senate after 7 or the 8 IDC Democrats who voted to keep the republicans in charge of the state senate lost their reelection. All of these left-wing victories have been done in heavily gentrified communities, that still only make up a fraction of the city’s population. The Pew Research Center reports that failure of newspaper business also depresses average citizens’ engagement in state and local politics, leading to left-wing activists dominating the parties and greater political polarization.” A quick analysis of the past 3 years of election results activists are dominating in NYC.
Today the critical role newspaper used to play with pile-on are mostly unknown reporters, they think one story on a subject informs voters. Most of the reporters are unaware of the leadership role strong newspapers used to play in NYC.
Can Errol Louis Break the Wokeness McCarthyism That Has Destroyed Journalism?
Errol Louis who was mentored by the late great real disrupter journalist Jack Newfield, has the ability and genius to moderate the first mayoral debate like the late Timmy Russet. The Times Square shooting has given him the opportunity to find ask any question to find out which candidate has the ability and understanding to reduce the city’s rising crime crisis. The city cannot afford to elect a candidate who answers beyond the talking points they are trained to use. If the next mayor does not reduce rising crime, there will not be an economic recovery. If they next mayor does not fix homelessness, provide more affordable housing, and improve the schools, a lot of New Yorkers will continue to suffer.
Sample Question for Louis: There is nobody in NY who does not want training and NYPD reforms to get dirty cops off the police force. With a 200% increase in city shootings, why has candidate discussions about reducing crime has recently become the 3rd rail of politics in NYC?
“It is simply staggering to witness skyrocketing shootings, record retirement of NYC police officers (over 75% increase), along with serious problem recruiting new officers, yet candidates for Mayor are terrified to discuss this as if this is 3rd rail. Yet polls conclude that ordinary New Yorkers are worried crime. NYC shootings spike nearly 200% this week compared to same time last year.” Sal Albanese