As Mario Cuomo famously said, when New York Post publisher Rupert Murdoch likes a politician, he lets you know it.
Back in 1982 when Cuomo was campaigning against Post favorite Ed Koch for the Democratic gubernatorial nod, he griped that when normal papers endorse a candidate “you get one column on the editorial page. With Rupert, he turns the whole paper over to you.”
And lo, just try opening the the Post web site to its front page these days: If your pop-up blocker isn’t activated you’re blasted by a giant Mike Bloomberg ad that makes the site look like All-Mike All-the-time!
The shirt-sleeved mayor bounces up, superimposed against a nice Brooklyn Bridge image, with some big rolling text hyping his good deeds on job training, affordable housing, and public education. Click on the ad and you’re transported to Bloomberg’s full-scale campaign site, complete with video ads.
The Post is the only site running this huge top-of-the page pop-up, but Bloomberg spokesman Howard Wolfson said the campaign isn’t discriminating. It’s just that the Post has the only web site offering this particular reader-assault technique. “If the Village Voice wants to offer it we’ll advertise there I’m sure,” he said. (Nota bene, web ad sales workers!)
But Cuomo’s almost three-decade old comment holds true inside the paper as well these days. Bloomberg’s been getting even more than usual royal treatment these days from some of Murdoch’s editorial troops — especially on the mayor’s push to win renewal of his school control bill.
Since early April, the Post’s been running a series slugged “City Schools/City Rules” featuring hedlines like “Principal a King in Queens: Mike’s way lets him turn schools around,” “Bloomberg beams over school praise,” and “Ambitious Course: City Plans for 100,000 Charter Kids.”
Then there was the scandal of the UFT-supplied cue cards at a city council hearing, which sparked the latest series — “Puppet Master” — featuring a photo of teachers union big Randi Weingarten holding Pinocchio’s strings and plugging the Bloomberg schools agenda still more.
Almost makes you forget about the other big puppet masters in town.