Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The parallel but opposite universe in the media's recounting of Melissa Mark-Viverito's speakership (thus far)

New York City Political Reporting Twilight Zone

Mission Accomplished Melissa Mark-Viverito MMV

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No. 2 and Trying Harder : The Unlikely Rise of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (The New York Observer)

The Advance Group Kept Working on Melissa Mark-Viverito's Speakership Campaign Until the Very End (NYC : News & Analysis)

The Growing, Corruptive Role of Money and Lobbyists In NYC Politics Contravenes Progressive Values (NYC : News & Analysis)

A profile of New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito published on The New York Observer Web site whitewashes her controversial bid for the Council speakership, noting that "a lack of controversy has characterized her tenure so far," even though Councilmember Mark-Viverito's acceptance of free lobbying services, which is against the rules, played an important role in her selection as the Council speaker.

Does mainstream media reporting of New York City politics operate in The Twilight Zone ?

How could The New York Observer write that, "In the final weeks before she was voted speaker, no newspaper endorsed Ms. Mark-Viverito," but leave out the reasons that explain this situation ? While The New York Observer did make room in its profile to mention tabloid-like articles about voodoo hexes, a charge made by rivals, who absurdley implied that Councilmember Mark-Viverito commissioned Satanic murals with mixed motivations, but, somehow, The New York Observer conveniently left out the series of exposés in various newspapers, sometimes involving editorials by various boards of editors, ranging from The New York Daily News, amNewYork, Newsday, and The New York Times, each raising concerns about Councilmember Mark-Viverito's failure to declare any in-kind contributions in exchange for the valuable lobbying services that were provided to her speakership campaign all the way up until the very end ? Other ethics allegations, much minor in comparison, about Councilmember Mark-Viverito's failure to disclose rental income, were raised by various newspapers about Councilmember Mark-Viverito in the time leading up to her speakership selection, as well, yet those minor ethics violations were mentioned by The New York Observer, but the more serious allegations about undeclared in-kind campaign contributions and possible ethics violations regarding lobbyists, were not mentioned at all. It's not an unimportant occurance when many of the city's leading newspapers organically agree by raising questions about a speakership candidate's ethics. One single news outlet being an outlier might be a sign that a lobbyist planted a story. Howevr, when many news outlets (joined by several political bloggers) would agree about more serious campaign finance and ethics questions, that points to a serious issue, and it is fishy that The New York Observer would choose to leave that out.

The lobbying firm, The Advance Group, which played a large role in Councilmember Mark-Viverito's selection to become the City Council speaker, has been beseiged by investigations by the city's campaign finance regulatory authority and, reportedly, by the FBI over allegations of wrong-doing. Several of The Advance Group's clients have been fined by the city's campaign finance regulatory authority over inappropriate activities connected with last year's municipal elections, which marked the first time when the corrupt Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case opened the floodgates to corrupt Super PAC spending in the corrupt American election system.

Another question about The New York Observer's profile of Speaker Mark-Viverito include the assertion that she "represents the hard and relentless left of the City Council," but that is at odds with the Council speaker's support of William Bratton as NYPD commissioner, an appointment made by the mayor that is certainly not supported by activists in the city's "hard and relentless left."

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