What Reporters Think of Bloomberg This Time

Michael Bloomberg’s transformation from the un-politician to icon of urban government is the subject of an April 22 panel discussion featuring the Times' Joyce Purnick (who is writing a book about him) and Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice, among other journalists.

An email from the organizers previewing the event asks, “Are the news media revising their views on Mayor Bloomberg in this election year?”

(Yes?)

Here are the details:

The Media and the Mayor:

Michael Bloomberg’s Transformation

Wednesday April 22, 2009, 8:30 to 10am

Theresa Lang Community & Student Center 55 West 13th Street (between 5th and 6th avenues), 2nd floor

Once he was described as an antidote to the old urban politics. Today he’s become an institution whose work could define a generation in government much like two other three-term mayors, Ed Koch and Robert Wagner. Are the news media revising their views on Mayor Bloomberg in this election year? Can he hold on to the winning image of an independent, effective reformer three times in a row?

WITH:

Wayne Barrett, Senior Editor, The Village Voice

Robert George, Associate Editorial Page Editor, New York Post

Errol Louis, Columnist and Editorial Board Member, New York Daily News

Joyce Purnick, veteran political columnist and reporter, The New York Times

Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush, Executive Editor, El Diario/La Prensa

MODERATOR:

Dominic Carter, Anchor, "Road to City Hall," NY1 News

Admission is free but you must RSVP. Call 212.229.5418 or email centernyc@newschool.edu.

UPDATE: Relatedly, Purnick's publisher has an excerpt of the book online now. In it, she describes a scene at a private event in Idaho in 2008 where Bloomberg goes to Rupert Murdoch to ask for help.

The timing would seem to suggest he was looking for editorial support to extend the city’s term-limits law so he could seek a third term. The New York Times broke the news that Bloomberg had been meeting – not with newspaper editorial boards, but rather, newspaper owners – to win support for his plan.

Here’s the excerpt:

The weather that July week in 2008 was delightful, the company exclusive, the setting—an extravagant hideaway surrounded by Idaho's evergreen-rich mountains—as splendid as it gets.

Yet Mike Bloomberg, a regular at the elite, secretive retreat held in Sun Valley every summer for media and business tycoons, looked distracted as he walked the manicured grounds of the Sun Valley Resort with his companion, the tall, elegant Diana Taylor. He exchanged pleasantries with guests ranging from Warren Buffet to Tom Brokaw, surveilled the three heated swimming pools, teed off at the fine 18-hole golf course on the premises. But he was not happy.

The Mayor of New York had something on his mind, someone he wanted to see. And there he was, Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon. Everyone eventually ran into everyone at the annual off-the-record "mogul fest'' in Idaho. Bloomberg rushed up to the bold but amiable Murdoch, who controls the powerful world-wide company that owns the New York Post. "We have to talk,'' he told Murdoch. Of course, he would be happy to chat, said Murdoch, a friend and long-time admirer of Bloomberg's. They'd have dinner when they got back to town.

What could account for Bloomberg's evident sense of urgency? The sixty-six-year-old mayor was frustrated. He had a problem he did not know how to solve and that was something new for him. Mike Bloomberg's life until then had been a study in making success out of failure and then more success out of already stunning success. But he had hit a solid wall. He did not like the sensation, did not accept it. He had a plan, and Murdoch would be part of it.