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Press Saying No To Limiting Coverage Of New York Mayor de Blasio

November 23, 2015

The first part of this story is priceless.  I loved Tim Russert and can see his eyes as the event described below played out.   But the larger story is one that must not be allowed to stand.

That is the attempt by a politician–in this case New York Mayor Bill de Blasio–to contain, limit, and thus control news coverage of his administration.

One day in the early 1980s, when Marcia Kramer was covering Albany for the New York Daily News, she was upset about a story in the New York Post.

The late Tim Russert was then a top aide to Gov. Mario Cuomo, and Ms. Kramer believed Mr. Russert had helped the Post with the story, recalled Adam Nagourney, then Ms. Kramer’s co-worker and now a New York Times NY  reporter.

“She marched down, with me in tow, to Russert’s office, walked past the secretaries, blew into his office, and sat down,” Mr. Nagourney said.

In colorful language unfit for print, Ms. Kramer told Mr. Russert, who went on to host “Meet the Press,” that if he wanted to “play hardball” she would castrate him, Mr. Nagourney said. “Tim looked like he wanted to throw up.”

Some 30 years later, Ms. Kramer is the chief political correspondent for CBS  2, and her long-standing, pull-no-punches tactics are now aimed at a new sparring partner—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has vowed to change how City Hall interacts with the media.

Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, has sometimes barred “off-topic” questions at news conferences, scaled back the number of freewheeling question-and-answer sessions he holds, and said he would get his message out “unfiltered.”

Ms. Kramer isn’t having it.

This country is best served when the likes of Kramer make up the newsrooms of every radio and television station, and beats in the heart of every print journalist.

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