Reporters on the Evolution of the Bloomberg Identity

There’s been a lot written and said about Michael Bloomberg’s relationship with the media and how he’s perceived publicly. Here’s an extended, longer-view look at what reporters were thinking and saying about the mayor before the most recent assessments.

It’s video just posted online from an April 22, 2009 panel discussion at the New School, entitled “Michael Bloomberg’s Transformation.” It’s hosted by Dominic Carter of NY1, and the panel includes Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice (whose article on Bloomberg inspired the panel), Errol Louis of the Daily News and WWRL, Joyce Purnick of the New York Times and Robert George of the New York Post.

At the 21:36 mark, Purnick says the city is getting used to the mysterious billionaire they elected mayor.

“Mike Bloomberg came in out of nowhere, we thought,” she said. She added, “To the average New Yorker, if he was a name, that was it. We knew he was wealthy. We have focus groups and polls to show this. The average New Yorker knew his name, sort of.”

She goes on to say, “The man that took the office on January 1, 2002 was relatively unknown and then he kind of had to learn to be a public figure. So, has he changed? I suspect not. Have our perceptions of and our understanding of him changed? Absolutely. And that is a function of the unusual way in which he became mayor. It was a fluke, in my view.”

Purnick adds, “So, we elected this guy in 2001 not really knowing who he was. And we’re learning.”