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Preliminary Re-Statement on Dicker

March 31, 2015

He’s one of a kind. Truly. He has an extraordinary mind characterized by quickness, alacrity and breadth of knowledge.  He is talented. His interviewing skills are first rate. In fact, individual segments of his radio show can be as good as anything you hear on the airwaves. And in print, he’s capable of producing outstanding work – and has done so over several decades. Perhaps most impressive of all, this man has never lost his passion after 40 years in the business. No matter how you feel about him, you have to respect that.

But he also has flaws. He’s arrogant, opinionated and harsh. He’s not insensitive and mean-spirited at his core, but he frequently can be that way towards people, especially those with whom he disagrees. Moreover, he’s simply not open to any kind of scrutiny of himself. He lashes out at those who question him and goes over the top in his response – as evidenced by his ambush interview of the author Michael Shnayerson and his subsequent twitter attack on him.

Before we revisit Shnayerson, we want to take a step back and ask a fundamental question: What is Fred Dicker today? Is he a reporter like others who work at daily newspapers?  No, of course not.  He’s not bound by the same rules as others.  So what is he exactly? A commentator? A political analyst? Those titles may fit him better, but his advocacy of issues like gun rights and fracking don’t exactly square with the conventional commentator or analyst.  Taking sides is not the issue. Instead, it’s going further with a story than a plain reading of the facts would allow.

In fact, what you have in Mr. Dicker is a self-styled multi-media public figure who creates storylines and frequently promotes them in ways that are sensational.

There’s actually nothing wrong with this – but it does cry out for scrutiny. On this point, we’ve always been stunned that other journalists and the political world in New York seems to just sit back and say: “There he goes again.”

Now back to the matter at hand – we’re committed to revisiting the issue of Dicker’s book contract. We were under the impression that Shnayerson had written about the matter, but we understand that what’s there is quite limited. We don’t have the book yet, but those who do indicate that when Shnayerson covers Dicker it’s mainly with regard to his formerly warm personal relationship with Cuomo.

Dicker went off on Shnayerson over this in his radio interview yesterday saying: “People say that I fall in love with politicians and then turn on them, but that’s just not true!”

Dicker also said that he is indeed “answerable” to his editors at the New York Post. He said his unnamed sources are real and that his editors know exactly who they are.

Now some people will expect us at this point to dispute what Dicker is saying, but we’re not going to do that.  In fact, we actually feel like commending Dicker for responding on point. It was actually quite entertaining. Great radio.

Another attribute of Dicker’s, not a virtue exactly, but a clear ability on his part, is that he can defend himself. We think he ought to be put in that position more often – being the public figure and political force that he is.

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