New York City Mayor Eric Adams has needlessly furthered a divide after only a few weeks in office. This topic gets attention on a Madison blog due to reporters being slammed by a charge of skewered press coverage because His Honor is Black. Creating such a mess of this kind before getting a solid footing in the job is a most remarkable mistake.
On Tuesday, Adams held a press conference and stated that he is not being treated fairly.
“I’m a Black man that’s the mayor but my story is being interpreted by people who don’t look like me. We got to be honest about that. How many Blacks are in the editorial boards? How many Blacks determine how these stories are being written?”
Well, let us slow down a moment and consider a fact that made social media twitter after that claim.
The almost all-white group of reporters he spoke in front of were hand-picked by the Mayor’s office and invited to cover the City Hall news conference.
He added, just in case the hole was not already deep enough, “If this is how this is going to be, I’m just going to come in and do my announcements and bounce. Why am I even answering these questions?”
Well, you are answering the questions because you threw your hat into the ring for office, and after running a good campaign, was elected. Furthermore, the reporters assembled are doing their job in holding the mayor accountable and asking questions on behalf of the public, that they too serve. Everyone, just expects Eric Adams to be an adult.
New York City politics has never been for the thin-skinned or the amateurs. So when Adams played the race card after about six weeks on the job it weakened his hand considerably. His opponents now know they can get to him and rattle him with hardly any effort.
Veteran Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf also said that playing the race card wasn’t a wise move.
“Eric Adam’s mayoralty will rest entirely on crime control. He’s not getting the help he needs in Albany, he’s frustrated, he’s angry and he’s taking it out on the press,” Sheinkopf said. “And talk of race will not help him.”
Another Democratic strategist said of Adams, “Now that he’s been lightly dinged by the press, he’s finally learning what it’s like to be mayor of New York City.”
Former de Blasio press secretary Bill Neidhardt also said, “If this is what gets him upset, wait until it’s six times larger and smacked on the front of both tabs and he’ll start to understand.”
The fact is, from the vantage point here in the mid-west, Adams has not been able to mount his own messaging. He is playing and reacting to events that occur rather than getting in front of them and leading where he wishes others to follow. There is a crime wave in large urban centers, New York City is one of them. A tough-on-crime approach would do much more for the citizens than claiming white reporters just will not write stories from a Black mayor’s perspective.
And, then of course, perhaps the mayor can better explain how his brother landed a great paying appointment to the New York Police Department. How does one write about nepotism so as not to be wrongly interpreted by people who don’t look like me?
Yes, messaging is the key.
And so it goes.