, Mayor Bloomberg, even after his long-belated shutdown of the Occupy Wall Street encampment last week, was publicly expressing his sympathy for the movement:
Mike’s a bit pro-Occupied
After hearing Mayor Bloomberg offer another lame excuse for why he waited two months to clear Zuccotti Park, I feel like the exasperated Aflac duck trying to make sense of Yogi Berra. At least Yogi and the duck are good for a laugh.
Not so our confused and confusing mayor. AWOL while anarchists and derelicts took over a prime piece of Gotham, he now says he delayed acting because he feared a judge would block an eviction.
“You have to give people time to express themselves,” he said Friday. “If you had tried to do it earlier, it’s not clear to me that the courts would have permitted it.”
Blaming the courts is a new twist on the mayor’s mistaken view of the First Amendment, which he often cited as the reason why he permitted laws to be broken and forced residents and businesses to suffer the invading vagabonds.
(Notably, the mayor’s concern for free expression doesn’t extend to the press, with most reporters kept too far away to witness the actual eviction.)
Moreover, because the court ruled the First Amendment did not include the right to set up tents and tarps, there is no reason to think the ruling would have been different had the eviction happened earlier. So the timing excuse is all in Bloomy’s head.
There’s something else in his head, too, and it probably explains why Bloomberg has been such an unsteady and uncertain commander during the crisis. The mayor, like President Obama and other liberal Democrats, actually sympathizes with the occupiers.
Here’s the evidence. Tuesday evening, after the Zuccotti Park eviction, the mayor’s media company posted an editorial that was shockingly bullish on the Occupy movement. It saluted Kalle Lasn, an avowed anarchist and the founder of the Canadian Web site Adbusters, which helped start the trouble.
Lasn, who has been accused of anti-Semitism, “is right that there is much to celebrate,” the Bloomberg editorial gushed. “A small group of people has imprinted on the American and global consciousness an important message that must be addressed: Inequality is growing extreme, and opportunity is becoming constricted.”
It said the occupiers “struck a chord across political and economic divides the world over” and compared them favorably to the Tea Party. The opinion piece concluded by saying, “We applaud the discussion that’s been opened, and hope it can turn constructively to the mission of seeing that all Americans have an equal opportunity to succeed.”
Beyond being wrongheaded, the editorial is markedly different from Bloomberg’s critical comments on the occupation. So much so that it’s fair to ask whether his company’s editorials represent the mayor’s thinking. Bloomberg media editor in chief Matthew Winkler answered that question in December, when the writers were hired.
“Our editorial page is going to be, for sure, consistent with the values and beliefs of the founder—even if he happens to be mayor of New York City,” Winkler told The New York Times.
When I asked City Hall whether Bloomberg agrees with Tuesday’s editorial, an aide said in an e-mail that the writers “generally reflect the mayor’s values but not every word or idea is an exact reflection of his positions.”
The aide added that the mayor “does not agree with the protesters’ targets or their efforts to engage in class warfare” but “has always believed that the growth in income inequality is a problem that requires addressing.”
Lest there be any doubt, Bloomberg himself echoed the editorial’s essence in a Thursday speech. As the NYPD was battling mobs trying to shut down lower Manhattan, the mayor was in Midtown arguing to business leaders that the protesters have an important message.
“We’re coming to a point where Occupy Wall Street is just the beginning, the Tea Party is just the beginning,” he said, according to a Times report. “The public is getting scared. They don’t know what to do, and they’re going to strike out, and they don’t know where.”
Even the incoherence of the movement, Bloomberg insisted, “tells you what the problem is. They just know the system isn’t working, and they don’t want to wait around.”
Lenin is said to have coined the phrase “useful idiots” to describe ignorant Westerners who sympathized with his totalitarian state. There is no better description for people like Bloomberg who, having succeeded wildly under democracy and capitalism, offer any support to the socialist mobs who aim to destroy both.
[end of Goodwin article]
It may seem surprising that the mayor of New York is involved in a media company that publishes editorials on political matters with which the mayor is involved. But the fact is that Michael Bloomberg, who founded Bloomberg Business News in 1981, did not sever his ties with his brainchild when he became mayor in 2002, but continues to own 85 percent of the spectacularly successful company. According to
, Bloomberg L.P. “makes up one third of the $16 billion global financial data market with estimated revenue of $6.9 billion.”