We crown New York’s mayor, but first . . .
NO PARTICULAR ORDER:
New York: ‘The Rage of the Previously Rich’
N.Y. Post: ‘ATT’Y TAKES A SWIPE AT CAT KILLER’
New Yorker: ‘Sarah Palin is my kind of gal’
N.Y. Daily News: ‘Historian questions ‘Bling Bandit’ medal claims’
N.Y. Daily News: ‘Rikers brass axed before big scandal’
Financial Times (U.K.): ‘Fears emerge over $700bn rescue’
Financial Times: ‘New York to regulate credit derivatives’
Running down the press:
You’d think that after watching The ’08 That Ate New York the press would stop bowing and scraping at the feet of billionaires. (See Jon Friedman‘s “Wall Street Coverage Makes Me Cringe.”)
But the Daily News insists on anointing a rich guy who has yet to display one iota of sympathy for, or understanding of, those of us less fortunate to bail us out of this mess created by rich guys.
The paper’s City Hall reporter, Erin Einhorn, cranked out a clueless puff piece Monday, “Warren Buffett: Let’s hire Mayor Bloomberg to save the economy.”
That’s one reporter who’s sure to get first crack at the City Hall press releases.
Einhorn didn’t include even one dissenting voice to puncture this trial balloon. (She did call Henry Paulson — as if he would say anything substantive about it.)
Tucked in up high in her piece is a link to a Daily News editorial (“Run, Mike, Run”) pleading with Bloomberg to run for a third term as mayor. The paper reasons that he’s done such a great job and has such supposed business acumen that he needs to remain our leader so he can pull us out of this chasm.
If he has such vast business knowledge, why didn’t he, as mayor, use his connections to the Wall Street execs to try to halt their march toward oblivion?
Bloomberg made his billions selling financial software to Wall Street — number-crunching software and hardware that gave Merrill Lynch (one of his early partners) and others the tools to create increasingly sophisticated ways of playing the market.
If any mayor should be able to spot dangerous trends on Wall Street, it’s the guy who made his billions furnishing info to Wall Street during its boom-bust-boom-bust cycles.
So why didn’t he? I dunno, ask his chauffeur. Why didn’t Bloomberg use his bully pulpit to bully his pals into at least tempering their greed lest it bury themselves (temporarily) and the rest of us (for generations)?
Instead of trying to rein in Wall Street, Bloomberg as mayor has chosen to rein in the city’s smallest businessmen: those scruffy street vendors and their ilk.
His performance as the mayor who has been overseer of Wall Street qualifies him to be either the country’s or the city’s financial savior?
At least Warren Buffett has an excuse for touting Bloomberg: It’s true that Buffett is maybe more compassionate than the average rich guy. (See my June 2007 story, “Even a Caveman Can Do the Math,” about Buffett attacking greed.) But he wouldn’t want to see anyone with a built-in animus toward Wall Street’s basic functioning step in as a czar. And Bloomberg definitely has no animus toward Wall Street’s profit-taking practices.
The Daily News has no excuse. Oh, wait, the paper does have an excuse: It’s owned by rich real estate guy Mort Zuckerman, whose fortune is based on leasing office space to financial wizards in America’s big cities.
These huzzahs for Bloomberg remind me of how Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was treated by his acolytes (before his Oregon-based empire dissolved in chaos). The ’80s guru, you may recall (and as I witnessed first-hand as a reporter), used to drive his Rolls-Royces slowly through his yuppie followers while they showered flowers, song, and pledges of obedience on the bhagwan (“blessed one”).
And we want to do the same with Wall Street’s blessed bagman?