Governor Andrew Cuomo’s PR flack is under fire for a “file” he kept on a reporter who’s often critical of Cuomo — and now the gov’s PR squad is running damage control.
First stop — as always — Andrew Cuomo apologist/New York Post state capitol bureau chief Fred Dicker’s radio show.
It should be noted that we contacted the governor’s office last night asking for an explanation of the “file.” Like many other media outlets that publish less-than-flattering commentary on the governor, we were ignored.
Dicker — who currently is in the process of writing a biography on Cuomo (natch) — had Cuomo Press Secretary Josh Vlasto on his show this morning to discuss the “file” kept on Albany reporter Elizabeth Benjamin by Cuomo Communications Director Richard Bamberger regarding the “generally snarky” blog posts she’s written about the governor.
Vlasto — who took time away from his vacation to chat with Cuomo’s pal
Dicker — claims the “file” isn’t nearly as sinister, or “Nixon-esque”
as certain members of the media are making it out to be.
An “unfortunate episode” is how Vlasto describes the “file” on Benjamin, claiming that it’s nothing of any substance — just a collection of blog posts with a few notes from Bamberger (read it for yourself here).
He blames the spread of the leaked “file” on the fast-paced nature of
Internet journalism — specifically blogs that can be particularly
Dicker, obviously, agreed with Vlasto’s assessment of how insignificant
the information contained in the “file” is — with no mention of what
the “file” represents: how paranoid the governor’s office is with Cuomo’s media image, and how Cuomo’s PR people pick and choose which media outlets will have access to the governor based on how favorable their coverage will be. For example, the governor has appeared on Benjamin’s public affairs television show, Capitol Tonight, a grand total of once. Dicker, on the other hand, frequently has Cuomo as a guest on his radio show, and currently is writing a biography of the governor, for which he’s been assured he’ll have Cuomo’s “cooperation.”
Dicker, obviously, is at the top of the list when it comes to Cuomo-approved reporters, so the governor’s office’s paranoia with the media doesn’t impact him. The rest of us aren’t as lucky/don’t treat the governor like he’s royalty — in the past two months, the governor’s office has only once responded to our request for comment…on anything.
Dicker went so far as to suggest that there might be some sort of “espionage” going on on the second floor of the state capitol, and that reporters might be picking through the governor’s trash looking for “exclusive” documents, like the “file” on Benjamin.
Dicker further blamed the distribution of the “file” compiled by Bamberger — who Dicker apparently adores — to the “snarky” nature of the blogosphere, noting that “snarky” is just a modern-day term for “nasty.” He illustrated his point by saying how “nasty” the Village Voice has been with him the past “several weeks.”
Keep in mind, this is the same Fred Dicker who’s alleged to have sent photographers to the home of former gubernatorial candidate/Cuomo opponent Carl Paladino to take pictures of his daughter.
We sent Dicker an email asking if he really didn’t see anything wrong with the gov’s office keeping a “file” on a reporter. We’ll let you know if he gets back to us.