Sunday, February 2, 2014

NYC Political Reporters Admit They Didn't Scrutinize Bill de Blasio, Still Give Themselves High Journalistic Marks

You believe that there's nothing wrong, because that's what the media tells you in the newspapers. But watch them in this frank panel discussion, to hear some backchannel realness.

CUNY journalism director Greg David moderated a panel discussion on Nov. 19, 2013, amongst several reporters about the quality of the journalism coverage during the 2013 New York City mayoral campaign. The reporters, who took part on the panel, were Brian Lehrer of WNYC, Errol Louis of NY1, Joel Siegel of The New York Daily News, Kate Taylor of The New York Times, and Maggie Haberman of Politico. They were joined by two political insiders : Stu Loesser, the former spokesman for outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Scott Levenson, a lobbyist who administered a controversial $1 million Super PAC.

The self-congratulatory media panel, embedded with two political operatives to keep reporters in check, tell you that the media did a good job of reporting the truth during the mayoral campaign, even though the consensus that night was that the media failed at scrutinising Bill de Blasio's candidacy.

These major political reporters were asked to grade their own coverage of the 2013 NYC mayoral election, and their shocking answers will give you an idea about why voters are kept in the dark about serious problems with the corruptive influence of money and lobbyists in politics, as well as the growing problem of public corruption in city government. The reality is that voters are kept in the dark about these issues, and the media admits it doesn't scrutinize politicians. They even hate the word "vet."

Watch as Mr. Siegel says, "I think, collectively, the media saw 20 years of Republican and Republican/Independent rule and thought that was the norm -- where the norm really is this is a city that voted 80% for Barack Obama. It's a very liberal city, and we all sort of -- I believe -- misread how serious a contender Bill de Blasio really was from the very beginning. I don't think he got the scrutiny from the beginning that Chris Quinn got or Bill Thompson got."

Here are now the reporters scored their own political journalism :

Brian Lehrer, WNYC 7.0
Errol Louis, NY1 8.0
Joel Siegel, The New York Daily News 5.5
Kate Taylor, The New York Times 8.0
Maggie Haberman, Politico 7.0
Sue Loesser, former spokesman to
     Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Scott Levenson, political operative 9.0

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