De Blasio Doesn’t Care That His Media-Bashing Sounds Like Trump’s: He ‘Doesn’t Actually Mean It’

It won’t come as a surprise to many of you that hatred of the press is not just limited to President Trump. Yesterday New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith about his personal gripes with the press and how while he may sound like Trump with his complaints, he says his are real and the president’s are “fake.”

For example, de Blasio isn’t happy about the media covering his daily commutes to a gym 12 miles away (some of the coverage has taken note of how this seems rather hypocritical, given his environmental stance). He told Smith the following:

“I don’t think the average New Yorker or the average American cares about my gym routine or any other elected official’s gym routine. I think there’s a group of insiders who do, and sorta junkies of political news who do, but I actually think that’s not the audience the media should be concerned with if they want to be relevant. If media wants to stay relevant in a much more dynamic media environment, in a much more competitive and ever-changing media environment, you actually speak to people’s lives.”

He criticized the press for focusing so much on “the spectacular or the scandalous or the flavor of the moment” over substance.

At one point, Smith pushed back a bit and said, “I think as a journalist and I think––I suspect my former colleagues in the city hall press corps feel, you are a powerful government official. And maybe you shouldn’t be the assignment editor. Like maybe you and Donald Trump shouldn’t be the ones telling journalists what to report and not report.”

De Blasio insisted he’s not saying that, but went on to say, “I’m very disappointed in the New York Times that they have greatly reduced their focus on New York City news.”

He also sounded off on Rupert Murdoch, calling him “a right-wing media baron who is consistently trying to undermine progressive governments and progressive movements all over the world.”

“Anyone thinks that’s objective journalism is kidding themselves,” he said. “The Daily News––I will give them credit for more balance––it’s still corporate media owned by a major real estate baron.”

Smith told de Blasio he sounds an awful lot like the president when he blasts the press like this, and he asked, “Has it kind of given you any pause to hear your words in Donald Trump’s mouth?”

De Blasio said no, but went on to say that’s a “reductionist” way of putting it:

“Donald Trump doesn’t actually mean it. Donald Trump spouts fake populism all day long and gets away with it. He is part of the problem. You decide, is he a millionaire or he a billionaire? I don’t care. Either way, he’s part of the problem. He’s part of the same class that created this reality. He’s chummy with all these people. So when he rails against the media, it’s to fake appeal, if it’s just a cynical ploy to appeal to a right-wing base. They may honestly feel it. I don’t think he feels it anymore and I think he feels a lot of the things he said in the campaign.”

Smith also asked the mayor about that time he unleashed on a New York Post reporter about working for “a propaganda rag.” De Blasio said, “And I believe they are.”

And when it comes to press access, he believes that it’s worth asking the question “where do we think we’re going to have serious issues covered?” and then settling on the answer, “If you want to get news out, you want to get information out, are you going to go someplace that going to warp it? No, you’re going to go someplace you think is going to put it out on fair terms and then all the critique in the questions will begin.”

You can watch the full discussion above.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac