Andrew Cuomo Cheerleader Fred Dicker Rushes To Gov's Rescue As Criticism Mounts Over Blackberry Use
Governor Andrew Cuomo has found a somewhat creative way around New York's public records laws: his Blackberry.
Cuomo's use of Blackberry's BBN message system (and his refusal to use official state email) to communicate with staffers and other pols has come under fire by many (read: just about everyone) in the media because it's in direct conflict with his campaign promise of overseeing an administration that would practice an unprecedented level of transparency. His biggest fan, however -- New York Post scribe Fred Dicker -- is not amongst the critics (imagine that).
Cuomo's use of BBN messaging skirts public records laws because -- as the New York Times recently explained -- Blackberry messages can't be traced, and unlike traditional email, can't be recovered.
In other words, Cuomo can say whatever he wants to whomever he wants about whatever potentially slimy thing he might be up to and the public would never find out about it.
Cuomo obviously understands this concept all too well -- while attorney general, he even explained the benefits of Blackberry messaging for anyone carrying out an affair, saying "You get into trouble with your significant other, you give them your BlackBerry. You want it? Here it is. Ask me anything, I'll show you."
This morning, in a subtle attempt to defend the governor's use of his untraceable Blackberry for official state business, Dicker got an "exclusive" interview with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who tells the leader of the Cuomo "rah-rah" squad that the gov's Blackberry use is just fine.
"A public official has a right to talk to his staff without it being open to the public,'' Silver tells The Post. "I believe a governor and members of the Legislature have a right to correspond with someone in confidence, in a way that is not reportable or traceable."
Dicker is then certain to point out that the criticism comes "without any suggestion of illegal or improper conduct by the governor's administration."
Well, maybe not -- but this is the same governor who campaigned on the promise of an unprecedented level of transparency. So criticism can't just be written off as unfounded -- even by a Cuomo apologist like Fred Dicker.
Dicker's love affair with Cuomo has been well-documented by this publication and others. Dicker has been Cuomo's number one fan -- under the guise of being a journalist -- since he first ran for attorney general. In fact, Dicker supposedly even sent Post photographers to the home of Carl Paladino -- Cuomo's Republican opponent in his campaign for governor -- to take pictures of his daughter. The alleged slime-ball tactic led to a heated exchange between the candidate and Dicker on the campaign trail.
Dicker's love of all things Cuomo has earned him a book deal to write an "unauthorized" biography of the likely 2016 presidential candidate -- and, as you might imagine, he's been promised by the Cuomo administration that the governor is "willing to cooperate."
Meanwhile,Vanity Fair writer Michael Shnayerson also has inked a deal to write a biography of Cuomo. No word on whether Shnayerson will be granted the same amount of cooperation.
Despite the fact that Dicker is yet to say a bad thing about the guy, he claims he hasn't had his lips attached to Cuomo's ass for the last five years, he's just been telling the "truth" about the governor.
"It's not fawning or overly solicitous just to describe what the truth is," Dicker explained earlier this year of his love of all things Cuomo.
As we commented at the time, whatever you say, Freddie.
We sent Dicker an email this morning asking "just to be clear, Fred, you're the one journalist in New York who thinks Cuomo using his Blackberry to communicate with staffers is perfectly fine, and doesn't completely contradict his promise of a transparent administration?"
We'll let you know if we hear back.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.