Go get 'em Gabe!
Here's a lesson for us PR folks... We don't and can't control the press. It's their job to dig and ask questions. It's our job to be prepared or to prepare our clients for those questions, but not to avoid them or chastise those reporters.
This is what veteran NY reporter Gabe Pressman wrote, after a local reporter from Channel 2 here had a dust-up with NY's mayor over a question she asked him at a news conference. It might be no coincidence that the mayor has a very low favorability rating from the public -- around 33%. Also no coincidence that the New York media have been writing about his low polling numbers. You get what you give.
A friend, Eric Berlin, producer at Channel 2 News here, posted Pressman's item on Facebook, and I'm reprinting it below.
(The trial Pressman talks about, with John Peter Zenger, took place in my hometown of Mount Vernon, which is why our city father's call it "The Birthplace of the Bill of Rights.")
THE MAYOR WHO WANTS TO TELL REPORTERS WHAT QUESTIONS HE’LL PERMIT THEM TO ASK .. by Gabe Pressman
New York's Mayor DeBlasio has tangled with a reporter, WCBS-TV's Marcia Kramer, over whether she had a right to ask him a question.
The Mayor who promised to run a “transparent” administration has done the opposite. He insists on setting the agenda for his press conferences. He gives us the topic and then assesses each question. If it’s something he doesn’t want to discuss, he admonishes the reporter to stay “on topic.”
I’ve been covering press conferences at City Hall for 60 years---and never has a Mayor had the temerity to enforce an agenda on journalists.
This Mayor who proclaims he is a “progressive” is anything but. The word “retrogressive” might be a better fit.
He needs a lesson in the history of freedom of the press in New York. John Peter Zenger went to jail for criticizing the English governor of New York. That happened 300 years ago and, if it were not for Zenger, the principle of freedom of the press might never have been embedded in our constitution.
Zenger, a half-literate German-born printer, was a true progressive. He would not let himself be bullied by the top government official in New York. And, thanks to a brilliant lawyer and a courageous jury, he was acquitted of wrongdoing.
Any question is fair game for every mayor. Indeed that principle has suited presidents and governors as well. For a reporter to be guided by any other code would be unprofessional and a betrayal of his obligation to the people.