Mayor Michael Bloomberg sometimes gets snippy with reporters asking him questions at his press conferences, as many reporters know. One of the most famous moments was when Azi Paybarah, then at The Observer, asked Mr. Bloomberg if he was undermining his own argument for extending term limits by touting the city’s economic improvement. Mr. Bloomberg responded by calling him “a disgrace.”
Mr. Bloomberg’s outgoing press secretary Stu Loeser was played the audio of this exchange on the Brian Lehrer Show this morning and was asked how he felt about the Bloomberg’s relationship with the press. Mr. Loeser, who can sometimes aggressively manage reporters himself, responded by heaping praise upon them.
“Well, I think that I’ve been lucky to work with an extraordinary group of people at City Hall and at city agencies, but also with the reporters who cover us,” he answered. “They are a phenomenally hard-working, dedicated, thorough, fair bunch of reporters, by and large. We have few disagreements.”
Mr. Loeser then favorably compared the city’s media to the national press following the presidential campaigns and the White House. Mr. Bloomberg, he pointed out, is far more open and frequently fields open-ended Q-and-A’s at the end of his press conference.
“If you look at the toxicity of the relationship between the press corps that covers the presidential campaigns and the candidates’ staff, and to some extent the White House staff, and you look at what goes on in New York City, particularly considering the mayor is out doing a full Q-and-A, taking any question three or four times a week, as opposed to three or four times a year for other principals, it’s extraordinary,” he said.
“We treat each other with a great deal of respect,” he added. “What we in the administration ask for out of our reporters is not good coverage, but fair coverage. We think fair coverage will be good and by and large that’s what we get.”
Mr. Lehrer last asked who Mr. Loeser’s favorite political person on Twitter is. Mr. Loeser cited Mr. Paybarah, the star of Mr. Bloomberg’s testy moment that introduced the discussion.
“I hope and presume he’s tweeting this about me talking about him tweeting as we say it,” he said.
Mr. Paybarah wasn’t tweeting at that moment — but he soon proceeded to in the minutes after.
For now, Mr. Bloomberg looks like he’ll continue to be annoyed by at least some questions tossed his way. In the video at the bottom of this Capital Tonight post yesterday, the mayor aggressively dismissed a Brooklyn Paper reporter’s inquiry about fire hydrants.