Sunday, December 31, 2006

Cognitive dissonance from the tabs on Albany & AY

For a prime example of cognitive dissonance, consider the enthusiastic editorial support for Atlantic Yards (and the state machinations and opacity behind it) from the New York Post and New York Daily News and the contrast with their harsh other editorials on Albany.

In an editorial Friday headlined THE BIG GOV WHO WOULDN'T, the Post editorialized regarding the 12-year stint of Governor George Pataki:
To put it bluntly, Ol' George let New York down.
Ran off, in pursuit of his own interests.
Even as taxes across the state squeezed out residents and businesses.
And political corruption mushroomed.
…Pataki vowed reform - term limits, public debate of the budget, spending growth held to inflation, big tax cuts.
But, almost from the start, it became obvious that he had little interest in shaking things up. His chief goal: to promote himself and his friends.
Patronage became a priority. Contracts got steered to those with political ties. Back-room deals replaced sunlit debate.
…* Confidence in state politics has been shattered. The state's legislative process ranks as the nation's most dysfunctional. Pols seem to be indicted almost daily.
…Sleazy politics and corruption are at crisis levels in Albany - thanks in no small part to the example Pataki himself set.


Daily News

Today's Daily News, in an editorial assessing Pataki's mixed record, headlined By George, it's bye, George, offers these somewhat contradictory sentences:
Pataki's Empire State Development Corp. fostered the city's building boom, notably rejuvenating Times Square.
...Pataki succumbed to back-room dealmaking with legislative leaders and broke a promise to limit himself to two terms.


The Daily News, in 12/13/06 editorial headlined The good, the bad & the stinky, commented:
That rotten-egg whiff in the air this morning emanates from Albany, where the Legislature convenes for a special session, perhaps to be bribed into action with pay raises.
The pols were summoned by Gov. Pataki to consider a much-needed law to keep the worst sex predators confined in mental hospitals after their prison terms. Otherwise, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno have refused to clue in the public about their agendas, which may or may not include okaying more charter schools (good), hiking their own salaries substantially (bad) and ratifying Pataki's last-minute list of crony appointments (ugly).
What the lawmakers definitely will not do is operate in an aboveboard fashion. They won't air their proposals in advance. They won't vet bills in committee or debate them on the floor. They won't wait the three days mandated in the state Constitution before voting on legislation. Instead, they'll do what they always do - let Pataki, Silver and Bruno cut a back-room deal, have the governor waive the three-day rule and rubber-stamp the good, the bad and the ugly before the ink dries. And these people want a hefty raise?


And the Times

Given the inconsistency expressed by the tabloids, maybe the New York Times's editorial silence on Atlantic Yards should be seen not as an abdication of public responsibility but rather as a recognition that it's better to be silent than to be inconsistent. Because the Times criticized Albany too, stating in a 12/16/06 editorial:
But we always need our legislators to take the time to do their work carefully — and, we hope, more openly.

Today, in an editorial, the Times offers a mixed verdict on Pataki's governorship, criticizing his record on governmental reform and budget issues. There's nothing, of course, about Atlantic Yards.

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