Joe Simonson on August 7, 2018
New York City Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio continued his attacks on the free press during an interview with The Guardian published Tuesday.
Specifically, de Blasio targeted conservative-friendly outlets like Fox News and News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch.
“If you could remove News Corp from the last 25 years of American history, we would be in an entirely different place,” de Blasio told The Guardian. ” … we would be a more unified country. We would not be suffering a lot of the negativity and divisiveness we’re going through right now. I can’t ignore that.”
While not specifying what exactly he meant, the mayor also said “media we don’t agree with” shouldn’t get “a free pass on what they have done to all of us.” He also went as far as blaming Fox News for the nation’s divisive politics.
“We would not be suffering a lot of the negativity and divisiveness we’re going through right now. I can’t ignore that,” he said.
De Blasio’s disdain for the press is no recent development. Since entering office in 2013, the mayor has taken on an adversarial relationship with local media.
A Freedom of Information Law request in May led to the release of emails detailing the disdain the mayor and various aids and consultants in his administration feel toward news outlets.
One consultant for his administration said it would be “good” if the left-leaning New York Daily News faced staff cuts.
“Would rather a liberal News to no News; but given that’s probably wishful thinking, I think it’s good if it cuts back,” BerlinRosen’s Jonathan Rosen said.
The New York Daily News laid off half of its newsroom in July.
De Blasio refused to take a question from a New York Post reporter during a press conference in 2016.
“I got no use for a right-wing rag that attacks people who are good public servants and tries to undermine their reputation,” he said at the time.
In another interview in May, de Blasio demonstrated his criticism for the media is bipartisan by saying he doesn’t read The New York Times as it is “not his cup of tea.”
One email released under that FOIL request showed de Blasio blasting a Times story as “disgusting.”
“We need to figure out a new paradigm with The Times. This level of bias can’t be ignored. Either starve them or reason with them or something else — but this is ridiculous,” he said.