NYT Questions NYT on Bloomberg’s Democraticness

The latest instance of the classic politician-journalist-politician feedback loop is completed when the New York Times‘ David Carr quotes Michael Bloomberg (10/5/08) citing a Times editorial that backed their rich mayor friend’s bid to legalize a third term for himself: “‘But as newspaper editorialists and others have pointed out,’ he said, ‘the current law denies voters the right to choose who to vote for–at a time when our economy is in turmoil and the Council is a democratically elected representative body.'”

Carr is good enough to question these noble democratic motives by asking near the top of this piece if actually “there wasn’t something undemocratic about [Bloomberg’s] effort to persuade the City Council to whisk away term limits–which the public voted for twice–and engineer a third term.” In fact, Carr finds it

no coincidence that Mr. Bloomberg cited voices from the city’s opinion leaders. With a fiscal crisis at hand, the business leaders of New York has already held a private referendum and decided who the next mayor should be. So in spite of his rather breathtaking grab for another term, there will be no opprobrium forthcoming from the editorial pages of the city’s newspapers.

Before Mr. Bloomberg took this controversial step… he made the rounds and locked up the support of the editorial pages of the New York Post, the New York Times and the Daily News, three city newspapers not known for moving in lock step.

The Daily News had to do something of a backflip, having frantically opposed any effort to change limits. The New York Times has historically opposed term limits for city offices, so it was less of a walk. The New York Post was far and away the most enthusiastic.