Team Obama Furious With Gov. Paterson For Saying Obama's Next 'Victim on the List' of a Racist Media

New York. Gov. David Paterson infuriated Team Obama Friday by suggesting on a radio show that the president would be the next "victim" of a racially biased news media – based on an interview Paterson had with a black reporter, Dominic Carter of the local cable news channel NY1. Fred Dicker and Maggie Haberman reported in the New York Post on Sunday:

President Obama's aides were so furious that Gov. Paterson dragged him into a rant about racism that they sent a message sharply criticizing the governor's comments just hours after he made them, The Post has learned.

Aides to Obama were angered by Paterson's tirade on liberal talk-radio station WWRL on Friday, sources said.

Paterson blamed his political woes on racially slanted coverage and predicted the president would be the next "victim" of biased media.

Obama's team delivered a pointed message to Paterson within hours of the morning broadcast, multiple sources said.

It came in a call from White House political director Patrick Gaspard, who has deep ties to the New York political scene, to Larry Schwartz, the governor's first deputy secretary.

Gaspard wanted to know "why [Paterson] was dragging the president into" his troubles, said one source.

You can see why Obama wouldn’t want to be seen as headed into the political quicksand like Paterson, whose approval ratings have dipped as low as 18 percent. Danny Hakim and Raymond Hernandez reported in the New York Times that Paterson sees racism behind many critics and satirists:

His anger appeared to be triggered when Mr. Louis referred to a television interview of the Rev. Al Sharpton conducted by Dominic Carter on NY1 on Thursday. In the interview, Mr. Sharpton was asked about Mr. Paterson’s late-night socializing at a Manhattan nightclub, Taj, in July.

Mr. Paterson suggested that Mr. Carter, who is black, was playing to white critics of African-American politicians by bringing up the subject. He also said that media outlets had mischaracterized what happened there. He said that he had not been out past midnight, as had been reported.

The governor suggested that it was part of a pattern of negative media coverage about him.

"We don’t have the kind of forces in the community that we had before," he said. "In other words, our black media outlets, save your program and a few others, are the only ways we have access, and even our own reporters from our own community buy the public line, which is, ‘We’re going to get rid of David Paterson.’ "

"The reality is that the next victim on the list is President Barack Obama, who did nothing more than try to reform a health care system" that, he said, constitutes 10 percent of the gross domestic product. It is "only because he’s trying to make change," Mr. Paterson said.

The governor declined to be interviewed by The New York Times about his remarks. But several people who had spoken to him said that he and his aides saw racial overtones in everything from the searing depictions of him on "Saturday Night Live" to small turns of phrase, like New York magazine’s reference to his freewheeling style as "jazz government."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis