USA Today Covers NYC Elections–Unfortunately

usatoday-nycIn USA Today (9/11/13), reporter Martha Moore tries to explain what the Democratic primary elections in New York City will mean for the general election later this year: 

Much of the upcoming general election campaign will likely focus on the legacy of those two decades: a dramatic drop in crime and the police tactics involved, soaring housing prices and an intense focus on testing to improve schools.

The “police tactics” referenced here would seem to mean stop-and-frisk, the controversial and unconstitutional practice that proliferated during the Bloomberg years. But there is no evidence whatsoever that they had anything to do with a “dramatic drop in crime,” the majority of which preceded the widespread adoption of stop-and-frisk. Supporters of stop-and-frisk would like you to think the tactic of stopping and searching hundreds of thousands of mostly young people of color was crucial to New York’s safety, but reporters should question that, not merely repeat it.

The piece also alludes to the supposed need for the Democratic primary winner to move to the right in order to win, a corporate media staple:

The winner among Democratic primary voters will have to pass another threshold test to win the November 5 election, says Evan Thies, a New York Democratic consultant. In the primary, candidates criticized [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg for focusing on the wealthy at the expense of everyone else: [Bill] de Blasio, for instance, called New York “a tale of two cities.”

Now, Thies said, a Democrat like de Blasio must make a more pragmatic case: “How does he argue that he’s fit to manage the city and not just lead a popular revolution?”

And Moore also writes:

Democratic primary voters were ambivalent about Bloomberg’s legacy: In exit polls, three-quarters of them said the next mayor ought to move the city away from Bloomberg’s policies, and about a third said they were seeking a candidate for mayor who “can bring needed change.”

I’m not sure how that would qualify as “ambivalence” about Bloomberg.


About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.