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We’re Part of the Team Now

October 1, 2010

We’ve been thinking about it and, well, we were wrong.

The notions we had about equal scrutiny of the candidates in a gubernatorial race and objective reporting were naïve and foolish.

We got together and we concluded that, yes, without a doubt, Carl Paladino is completely unfit to serve. He’s a racist. He’s crazy. He’s dangerous.

But people are just too stupid to make that judgment on their own. We need to help them.

We’re going to follow Fred Dicker’s lead from now on. We’ll get into Paladino’s face. We’ll jab our forefingers into his chest and we’ll demand some answers:

How dare you challenge Andrew’s commitment to cutting taxes and spending! Don’t you know he comes from a long tradition of fiscal prudence?

How dare you challenge his veracity! If he says all the unions associated with the Working Families Party have agreed to sweeping reform, well that’s good enough for us. It must be so.

How dare you challenge his commitment to cleaning up Albany! Don’t you know that he investigated member item abuses four years ago and that he cleaned up that problem completely?

How dare you suggest Cuomo took a payoff in the form of a job from a person he once investigated! Where is your proof for that?

How dare you suggest that he might not have been faithful to his wife! She was the one, not him. It was in all the papers.

How dare you suggest that his campaign is responsible for negative stories about you! Don’t you know that he is above gutter politics?

Hey, Andrew, we’re really sorry for being ever so mildly critical of you in the past. We won’t do it anymore. We’re part of the team now, and we feel really good about ourselves.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    October 1, 2010 10:25 AM

    What’s that quote about intelligence being the ability to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time and still function.

    Yes, Cuomo needs to be challenged on his program, record, etc. And the media has a responsibility to do that, especially if his opponent is unable to. And you are right to push hard for that. Keep that up, don’t let up. But do you really care if he had an affair? I didn’t think that was the debate you wanted.

    And, yes, Paladino is completed unqualified. Let’s just take the latest item. First he says he has proof which he will reveal in time that Cuomo cheated on his wife. He says that repeatedly and clearly. Now he claims he never said that. And you all are okay with that. You think that is some minor unimportant thing we should completely ignore because the state desperately needs a debate on its future direction.

    Yes, you are completely right, the state needs such a debate. But it is also true that Paladino’s flaws mean it would be a disaster to have him as Governor. Ignoring that harsh reality because you want a debate doesn’t help your credibility or help create the debate you justly want.

    Paladino chose Roger Stone and company to run his campaign and that’s the campaign he is getting. Paladino has set the tone here. That also says something about him and his values.

    This is not a defense of Cuomo’s campaign, which has lots of serious problems. Which you are also right to point out.

    Nor is this a defense of Dicker. I thought both Carl and Fred were right in what they said about one another. Another contradictory idea for you.

  2. Mark permalink
    October 1, 2010 3:12 PM

    Child care, this is child care.

    Again, some qualifiers:

    The writer in question here finds Fredric “Norman Adler Kicked The Snot Out of” U. Dicker a repulsive figure.

    The writer is not in the employ of Andrew Cuomo, Mr. Dicker, The New York Post, Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Democrats, Republicans, a political party, or anyone with a vested interest in this race.

    The writer has merely been around, seen a lot, and knows how to do research.

    The rant like yours above is something one would expect from a 6-year-old who is not allowed to stay up on a school night to watch the second hour of “Dancing With the Imbeciles”. You have stomped your veritable feet, stuck out your lower lip, and, with your blogging teeth clenched, whined “This just isn’t fair!” before huffing and puffing off to your room. One can offer a singular response to such a screed:

    Grow up and calm down.

    Again, Mr. Paladino has offered no proof of Mr. Cuomo’s alleged adultery. Mr. Paladino, meanwhile, has ample proof – a love child – of his own adulterous ways. What’s so odd about Mr. Paladino’s contentions is that:

    A. No one ever considered Mr. Cuomo to be the adulterous one in his former marriage;

    B. Everyone, Kennedys included, knew that his ex-wife was the one with the On The Side ways; and,

    C. Mr. Cuomo is, quite frankly, too much of a nerd to ever be viewed as a philanderer – hell, it’s almost impossible to consider Mr. Cuomo a participant in acts involving procreation or that would offend the lack of sensibilities of that Delaware Dipstick O’Donnell.

    Andy Cuomo and sex? Two topics that go together about as well as Fred Dicker and hair. Or Carl Paladino and kindness. Or the sun rising in the west. Just don’t (sic) compute, kids.

    Again, consider this analogy: One could alleged that the “concerned professionals” at NT2 are rumored to be having repeated sexual liaisons with a Shetland pony. That, of course, would be unsubstantiated garbage. Such a statement would not only be in potential violation of libel and slander laws, it would also be an act of extremely poor taste – and, most important, perform no viable service to the community.

    NT2, you are aware that politicians and the media once based their efforts on performing some sort of viable, meaningful service to the community? These were not acts of communism or socialism. Again, relax. Instead, such work and such a mindset served as the very basis of a workable, participatory democracy. Capitalism flourished, people had jobs, responsibilities were shared, and while we stumbled more than once, ours as a nation managed to grow.

    Mr. Dicker, of course, has little interest in such a mindset or in the performance of such actions. Mr. Dicker is in journalism for Mr. Dicker and Mr. Dicker alone. Much like Mr. Paladino is in business for Mr. Paladino and Mr. Paladino alone. The two are rather made for each other.

    However, when Mr. Paladino fires out some charge of adultery against Mr. Cuomo – and then declines to provide evidence to support his assertion – any journalist or human being with an ounce of common sense and an inability to avoid mindless loyalty is going to expect Mr. Paladino, as the accuser, to follow a simple rule:

    Put up or shut up.

    So, the situation remains the same: If Mr. Paladino has the documentation, bank records, and/or videotapes of Mr. Cuomo’s trysts, put ’em out there for public review. That’s all. Mr. Paladino needs to show what he’s got or admit he was full of it from the outset. There used to be a time not so long ago when the responsible media would have demanded that anyone making an allegation provide the factual support – before – said allegation was printed or aired. That was not an act of censorship; it was simply a practice of professionalism and common sense.

    Personally, this writer believes Mr. Paladino made these false charges only in response to the story about his own love child. This writer also believes Mr. Paladino is angry that The New York Post, which is seen as the Conservative rag in this state, has done such a story and appears not to endorse him. This writer also believes that Mr. Paladino has decided that attack is the best, and only, tactic for his campaign. This writer also believes that Mr. Paladino failed to understand Mr. Dicker’s undeserved position in the Albany media and simply attacked both the wrong pundit and the most powerful Conservative press figure at the capital.

    In short, this writer believes that Mr. Paladino screwed up and screwed up in royal and spectacular fashion.

    Your childish pouting only makes you look like amateurs – and worse, like amateurs who just didn’t know some basic facts (Mr. Cuomo is a nerd, Mr. Dicker is a Conservative pundit and not some mainstream media nobody) about Albany.

    • societax permalink
      October 1, 2010 9:47 PM

      +1
      Pretty much the same sentiment that I proffered on the NT2 entry on 9/29.

    • October 3, 2010 8:09 PM

      Dear Mark:

      Thank you for a spirited riposte.

      Yes, we were being rather puckish and pouty, and, truth be told, it wasn’t all posturing. Allow us to explain.

      First, we have a firm belief that nobody in public life is ever as good or as bad as they are portrayed in the media. Andrew is not God, and Paladino is not Satan.

      Second, much of what you find disturbing about us derives from attempts to deal with our dissatisfaction with the way this race is being covered by the media.

      There has been no competition of ideas on how to improve the state. There has been no evaluation of the different approaches to fix the state economy or meaningful discussion of any policy.

      And here’s a key point: There will be no serious discussion of any policy, if, based on personality flaws alone, one candidate is written off prematurely.

      Why? It goes back to Cuomo. If Paladino is viewed as unelectable, then Cuomo won’t debate him. He won’t engage him on policy. He’ll just ignore him. It’s classic Cuomo – it’s what he was doing right up to the moment that Paladino suddently and briefly looked viable. It’s what the senior Cuomo did against O’Rourke and Rinfret.

      What you see us trying to do (and it is becoming increasingly difficult) is give Paladino the benefit of the doubt – in part because no one else seems willing to do so.

      Third, to be perfectly candid, our group wrestles with the following (mostly) fictional construct:

      What if one candidate was a very unappealing person? What if he or she, if not an outright racist, was stunningly insensitive and crass? But what if, along with these egregious flaws, he or she had a superior economic policy, which, if implemented, would truly benefit people of color and everyone else all across the state?

      What if there was another candidate who had a poetic vision for social justice, but absolutely sucked when it came to economic policy? What if electing him or her meant that we would have politically correct dialogue at all times and continued economic decline, with all its attendant consequences.

      What is the right thing to do here? Of course, this is way oversimplified. And we really hope it is a false choice, but elements of this construct may be in play in New York. And, if so, what do you do?

      We know what you and Sociotax would do, and we respect you for it.

      Part of us wishes that it was that clear cut for us. We would have fewer internal fights, and our writing would be less equivocating. But we are not there. Not yet, anyway.

      Finally, you should know that the Cuomo people have pressed us. They say that Paladino, because of his inappropriate emails and comments, is clearly unsuitable for office. They say that by refusing to condemn him for his obvious racism, we are sanctioning it. They say the media (including us) has responsibility to denounce Paladino. They say we are “dangerous” because we haven’t done so.

      This approach, which is typical of the Cuomo people, doesn’t go over well with our members. In fact, it gives us greater resolve to ensure that we will not be the advocate of one candidate and the nemesis of the other.

      We hope you understand.

      Sincerely,

      NT2

      • Mark permalink
        October 3, 2010 10:13 PM

        NT2,

        I must say that I am quite impressed by the depth, quality, professionalism, and policy-0riented nature of your response. You have chosen to operate your blog in an effort to discuss the serious issues facing our state in a mature and rather profound manner. While I may not have all, or even any, of the same political viewpoints (a statement that I offer as something of a qualifier based on both my ignorance as to your policy positions – an ignorance for which I apologize – and my own rather cynical views on the political and media processes today), I cannot help but be impressed by the true character and sincerity of your response post.

        From the outset, I believe that this story, specifically Mr. Paladino’s allegation of Mr. Cuomo’s alleged sexual liaisons, was never intended to be a campaign item in the first place, reflects the media’s (and specifically, Politico’s and Ben Smith’s) unwillingness to review serious issues and hyper-eagerness to turn every campaign into a page-click-generating, ratings-producing, no-holds-barred cockfight, and devolved (not evolved) into an issue only after Mr. Paladino neglected to clarify his earlier remarks and the reasons behind them.

        I believe – without any proof, mind you, but bolstered by a few decades of experience in such things – that the Cuomo-was-an-adulterer tale devolved something like this:

        1. Mr. Paladino was angered that The New York Post had interviewed his former mistress;

        2. Mr. Paladino was upset that The Post has declined to endorse his candidacy;

        3. Politico contacted Mr. Paladino about The Post’s story regarding his love child;

        4. Mr. Paladino made an offhand comment along the lines of: You think I’m an adulterer? Why don’t you check out Mr. Cuomo? “Has anybody asked Andrew Cuomo about his paramours?”

        THIS IS THE VITAL ASPECT OF THE TALE. Mr. Paladino was not asserting “Mr. Cuomo was or is an adulterer”. Instead, Mr. Paladino was stating, in anger, that the media was only checking out his personal life and, in the interest of getting off Mr. Paladino’s back, reporters ought to do the same kind of reporting about Mr. Cuomo. This tactic was more about hitting back at The Post in the Big Apple, its story on his love child, and using Politico to vent.

        5. Then, Mr. Paladino made two huge errors.

        First, Mr. Paladino neglected to tell Politico, which employs Mike Allen and thus damages its own credibility, that his reference to Mr. Cuomo’s married life was merely a feeble call on the media to review both campaigns in the same manner – and NOT an accusation that Mr. Cuomo had committed adultery.

        Second, when Politico reported that Mr. Paladino had alleged that Mr. Cuomo had paramours during his marriage (a sexy, all-too-mindless topic if ever there was one), Mr. Paladino did not immediately squelch the tale and explain the reason – unfairness, personal angst, etc. – behind his comparison statement. Far worse, Mr. Paladino encouraged the tale with that stupid line promising to release the facts to support his accusation to the media at some future “appropriate” time, his spat with Mr. Dicker, his denial to The Buffalo News, and then his reaffirmation of the charge on Fox News.

        Mr. Paladino, in short, expressed his frustration with the media – and then encouraged Politico, Mr. Dicker, and then the national, state, and local press to pick up the stories of his public argument with and threat against Mr. Dicker, his denial of the charge, and his restatement of the claim. In short, Mr. Paladino was clumsy, foolish, and terribly misguided. Lots of Roger Stone in the man’s game and more’s the pity.

        This brings us to the media. Everyone. Not just the networks, The Times, and The Washington Post. Toss in Fox News, The New York Post, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Daily News, Newsday, The Times Union of Albany, The Buffalo News, WGY Radio, and more than a few bloggers.

        Today, the media lives to generate revenue – NOT to provide meaningful, factual, opinion-free information to the public. The media has decided that the best way to generate revenue is to entertain. The media has determined that entertainment in the political arena centers around mudslinging and scandal involving familial, moral, religious, and personal financial (debt, etc.) issues.

        This is why, for example, Christine O’Donnell’s participatory “witch” comment is a national issue or why some reporters mention Barney Frank’s homosexuality. It’s why Sarah Palin’s single-parent daughter gets a gig on a televised pseudo-talent show and the reason Luke “Me and James” Russert (google it) goes from prep school and Boston College to a gig at NBC. It’s why Kristi Gustafson is employed at The Times Union – a newspaper with an editor who specializes in bikini waxing (a NEWS……paper?) – and why Rex Smith moved his entertainment editor, Casey Seiler, to oversee the paper’s state political staff (not to mention the impetus for Seiler’s decision to make the first column in his new gig a hilarious, self-centered tale, complete with pictures, about the author riding a personalized motorized scooter around downtown Albany).

        In short, the media seeks to entertain by using imbeciles, children, products of Nepotism (google “Irene Jay Liu has had a privileged life”) and egotistical sycophants (hope that’s not too harsh) to stir up manure and otherwise keep us mired in the most trivial, foolish, and infantile of topics.

        So when any newcomer enters the political arena these days, the standard media M.O. – and this includes Fox News, where Megyn Kelly is no less rude, arrogant, and baseless than she was in her days at Albany Law – calls for “political reporting” based on the excavation of past issues of a familial, moral, religious, and personal financial nature. The media cares not one iota about the candidate’s positions on tax policy, employment, health care costs, or what to do with workers ages 55-70 if the feds decide to up the retirement age to 70 in the face of a business sector that currently ditches its older staffers as soon as younger, cheaper ones become available. The media does not wish to ask a candidate to explain his/her position on funding for public education and tenure for teachers in the wake of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision, the 20-year-old decision to mainstream occupationally and developmentally disabled students into the regular classroom setting, or the other two-decade-0ld policy move to increase teachers’ salaries in an effort to attract a higher quality of educator much in the same manner that Wall Street routinely boosts compensation to lure the finest minds to the derivatives game. We haven’t even discussed the adverse impacts on public education of not only the healthy number of single-parent kids in the inner city who gain little or no support at home, but the prevalence of far too many white kids from upscale families whose parents ought not be in the child-rearing business and their often adverse impacts on the suburban and exurban school settings.

        Such issues are just too complicated for the media today. Besides, sex sells. And if sex doesn’t sell, religion will. And if not religion, then another “moral” issue, Park51, flag pins or, my personal favorite, how the common sense $2 gauge to monitor the air pressure in your vehicle’s tires and thus improve its gas mileage really is (sic) a sign of impending communism/socialism/fascism (sic).

        The media staffers of today, all those pretty, young, cheap, giggling kids with the “like, like” and “tons more” verbal fetishes – do you really think any of them can identify the highest court in the state or its chief justice, much less explain the CFE decision? Do you actually believe any of them can explain the difference between a credit default swap and a collateralized debt obligation? Do you seriously maintain that they can identify the difference between occupational and physical therapy? Their bosses don’t want them to do so. Instead, they want these kids to entertain us, to give us something trivial to ignore, or maybe to tune in or click the page just to see if the female anchor’s skirt is another inch higher than yesterday.

        Read some Neil Postman. Start with “Amusing Ourselves to Death”. Better yet, check out some Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”. Always best to go to the source. Mr. Huxley and Mr. Postman saw in their own generations a declining media. That fall continues today in the most precipitous of natures. For it, we all suffer – policy wonks and “like likes” in equal measure. The policy wonks just realize what’s happening; the “like likes” are too busy sitting in a coffee bar with a friend, each of them talking on a cellphone to someone else. They don’t need or want the message; it’s the gadgets – the beeps and blinking lights, the entertainment alone – that keeps them sated and happy.

  3. Mark Keister permalink
    October 2, 2010 7:49 AM

    Why d’yall care where Andy dips his wick [or any one else for that matter]?

    Every one knows [or should] – The Big Stick and Where It Waves is what is important, not the little one.

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