The media are in love – with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. From his soda ban, to his global warming views, to his opinions on gay marriage, journalists and pundits have repeatedly given him a platform to promote whatever he wants … and praised him repeatedly.
Very recently, Bloomberg lashed out at New York state legislators in Albany when a speed camera plan for NYC failed, "blaming state senators .. for the future deaths of children killed by speeding cars."
From Jan. 1 to March 22, 2013, Bloomberg was mentioned or interviewed on the three networks’ morning and evening news programs 43 times promoting his policies and giving the public an annoying play-by-play of every silly new initiative Bloomberg was pursuing. By comparison, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa from Los Angeles, Calif., was only mentioned or interviewed 6 times. Los Angeles is half the size of New York, yet Bloomberg got 7 times the coverage.
An NBC panelist called Bloomberg a “revolutionary” for his proposed soda ban. CBS set Bloomberg up in an interview to slam the National Rifle Association (NRA) and promote stricter gun control. ABC hyped Bloomberg’s latest slew of gun control ads by promoting his personal wealth. Bloomberg's gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, declared March 28 "National Demand Action Day" which spurred a protest scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in Newtown, Conn. that day.
But the networks aren’t the only Bloomberg devotees. CNN had defended also promoted Bloomberg, from his claim that Hurricane Sandy was caused by global warming, to being the only “expert” consulted about guns. Fortune magazine had justified his nanny state policies as simply helping people out “by the hand.” The Washington Post spun his policies as “data-driven” instead of overreaching and intrusive.
And this was just the “best of” Bloomberg love.
Even though the media continually demonized the NRA as the all powerful gun lobby, they promoted Bloomberg’s crusade, who, according to Forbes, is worth $27 billion and is one of the top 10 richest people in America. In contrast, the NRA only invested an estimated $25 million in elections in 2012, according to a source from the NRA.
Ironically, on March 25, ABC’s “Good Morning America” hyped Bloomberg’s latest anti-gun ads. Reporter Jim Avila touted how the Mayor had “a personal fortune he is willing to spend.” This is the same media that consistently smeared the Koch brothers every time they got a chance because of their political spending.
In May 2012, right after Bloomberg first proposed a ban on large, sugary drinks including soda, NBC’s “Today Show” had a panel to discuss the implications of such policies. Advertising executive Donny Deutsch declared “God bless this guy … every time you make a revolutionary move, there’s going to be some complaints of overstepping boundaries. I applaud him.”
A doctor from the University of California San Francisco, David Lutsig, has compared sugar to tobacco, and called for a tax on it. His views were repeated by panelist Nancy Snyderman who said, “Sugar is toxic and should be regulated like tobacco.” Deutsch also backed up this claim. Attorney Star Jones continued with this theme, claiming that the soda ban would “curb obesity” because people would be “too lazy” to buy several soft drinks or get a refill.
While CNN also loved Bloomberg’s soda ban, they also praised other Bloomberg policies. In Nov. of 2012, CNN host Piers Morgan hyped Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Obama as a serious threat to challenger Mitt Romney. Apparently, Bloomberg’s endorsement was a big deal to CNN, even though Bloomberg had switched political parties twice.
The biggest reason Bloomberg’s endorsement was threatening, according to Morgan, was his claim that Hurricane Sandy was caused by global warming. “He made what he felt was a very pertinent point, which is that actually Hurricane Sandy, the greatest storm New York has ever seen in his lifetime, may well be linked to global warming, and it depends on whether you believe the science or not.”
Piers Morgan wasn’t the only CNN host who promoted the mayor. On Jan. 17, 2013, Anderson Cooper had one guest to talk about guns – anti-gun advocate Bloomberg. The entire interview consisted of softball questions such as “are you happy” about the president’s push for gun control and “what do you think of the NRA?”
In January 2013, “CBS This Morning” did an interview with the mayor, where anchors Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell set Bloomberg up to call the NRA “stupid” and portray gun owners as a radical minority of the country.
Print media outlets have also been Bloomberg cheerleaders, including Fortune magazine. On March 12, 2013, Fortune editor Leah Gallagher praised Bloomberg’s nanny state policies. “You have to take people by the hand and lead them,” she said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
In Feb. 2013, liberal political site Politico was ecstatic about a pro-gun control official winning an Illinois congressional primary in a far-left district, backed with $2 million from a Bloomberg-funded group. “Bloomberg and gun control proponents seized on the results as evidence of momentum in their push to enact President Barack Obama’s gun control package,” wrote Alex Isenstadt.
Later, Isenstadt declared this victory to be a “referendum on the national debate over gun control.” When Bloomberg used his money to fund groups and help candidates, the media praised it. When the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity ran ads, the media spread misinformation about them.
And on Aug. 9, 2012, The Washington Post dedicated a nearly 1,000 word article on Bloomberg entitled “In Politics, Mayor Bloomberg Operates as a Party of One.” Writer Jason Horowitz claimed that Bloomberg “has method of doing things his own way,” yet never once described him as a liberal.
Horowitz did reference Bloomberg as a “data-driven despot” that intervenes in everyone’s lives. His list of “accomplishments” included the soda ban, gun control, and Bloomberg’s attempt to “hide infant formula because it could distract new mothers from breast-feeding.”
It’s hard to view Bloomberg as a “party of one” when he, in fact, has an entire media of devoted followers.