If you hate Michael Bloomberg you will find a lot to hate in his conversation with the Atlantic’s James Bennet, part of the magazine’s gag-inducing “Brave Thinkers” issue. What makes Bloomberg a “brave thinker”? Banning soda, it seems like. (Also, lord, no one needs another Bloomberg interview. If you want to know what he thinks about things, he is on the radio every week and he owns a news outlet that has an opinion section devoted in part to opinions he agrees with.)
You will also find some things about Bennet to be annoyed with, like his complete indifference to Bloomberg’s approval of the NYPD’s various major violations of civil liberties and general complete lack of oversight. The words “NYPD,” “Muslim,” “frisk” and “surveillance” never come up once in the full transcript of the interview.
New York’s billionaire mayor is as self-satisfied as ever, and he is very proud of his low approval ratings.
There are a bunch of other things that conveniently don’t come up (New York’s poverty rate and severe wealth gap, the taxpayer-funded stadium bonanza Bloomberg ushered in) but the most annoying omission is that Bloomberg, who has always wanted to be known as the man who saved New York City public schools, is not actually held accountable for the fact that after three terms under mayoral control, Bloomberg’s policies have not actually demonstrably improved public education in New York, and the huge gains Bloomberg trumpeted in his first two terms were shown to be largely illusory. (And hey, remember Cathie Black? Bloomberg’s biggest media fans don’t!)
Bloomberg does volunteer, himself, without prompting from Bennet, that “[we] haven’t improved the schools as much as we want.” Or, arguably, at all! Oddly, that has not led to any sort of reexamination of his beliefs on education policy — beliefs that both major political parties basically share.
But as the mayor kicks off his last-year-in-office national media victory tour, I imagine we won’t hear a whole lot about the failure of his signature policy goal. (Or, you know, everyone will just blame teachers unions.)
No, we probably won't hear much about those failures because most people in the corporate media (or the wanna-be corporate media) are afraid that someday they may need a job from Bloomberg, the media mogul, so instead we get suck-up pieces like this crap from The Atlantic.
Or this one from Martha Stewart's Whole Living that celebrates Bloomberg as a "Food Visionary" for banning biggie soda drinks.
You'll note how the latest phase of the Bloomberg media suck-up has dubbed Herr Bloomberg as a "visionary" "thinker".
Meanwhile members of the city council exploded on the D.O.E.’s chief academic officer Shael Polakow-Suransky over the DOE's lack of transparency and its refusal to take responsibility for mistakes or policy.
Instead they blame others - teachers, principals, networks.
Nothing "visionary" about any of that.
That's just an old-fashioned shirking of responsibility and a refusal to be held accountable to the same standards that they hold everyone else accountable to.
That's a marked trait of the Bloomberg administration and of Bloomberg the Man himself.
But you never hear about that in the Bloomberg suck-up pieces.
Or about CityTime.
Or the NYPD ticket-fixing scandal.
Or the $2 billion 911 system that is years overdue and a billion overbudget.
Or the various other consultant scandals.
Or the people who died during the Bloomberg Blizzard of 2010 because Bloomberg The Visionary couldn't get the outer borough streets plowed and emergency vehicles couldn't get through.
Just once I'd like to see the Oprah or Martha publications (or the Times, Post, Daily News, Atlantic, etc.) cover those topics while they're sucking up to the mayor.