How a mayor dodges an honest answer (the push-polling incident)
Push-polling (which is legal) is not the problem. Potential dishonesty is the problem. The cover-up is often greater than the crime.
The mayor of New York City pulled another fast one on the people.
Tuesday's New York Times ran a story that Bloomberg "push-polled" about Anthony Weiner, a potential mayoral rival. "Push-polling" is campaigning disguised as survey-taking. A hypothetical example:
Bloomberg was asked about this today. This is how he responded (from the NY Times City Room Blog):
In answering Mr. Brooks’s question, Mr. Bloomberg, who is running for a third term after signing a law extending the number of terms elected officials can serve in office from two to three, said:
After fielding a question about whether he believes it’s possible to leave statistical data aside and govern by instinct (in short, his answer was, not really), the mayor had to face poll inquiries again.
“Well, I don’t think we did that, but you should go to the campaign and talk to them and they’ll be happy to tell you,” he told one reporter who asked if he had commissioned the survey or if he was aware of it.
To another one who asked if he planned to authorize negative polling throughout his campaign, Mr. Bloomberg retorted, “What kind of a question is that?”
“I said, go to the campaign. I’m very proud. We’ve always done positive … We’ve always done positive things and you’ll have to talk to the campaign about what they do.”
But aren’t you the candidate, Mr. Bloomberg?
"I don't think we did that"?? You don't have to THINK--you KNOW. It's your campaign! You're a control freak! It was the lead story in that day's New York Times! In the unlikely event that you truly do not know, you call your campaign manager pronto and ask him about it.
"Talk to the campaign!" you say, multiple times. So what happens when a reporter actually does talk to the campaign? Certainly, the campaign is fully prepared to set the record straight, right?
The campaign declines to release an official statement!
The old run-around! New Yorkers LOVE it! Four more years! FOUR MORE YEARS!
What happens when NY1 covers the story and demands an answer?
An "un-named" high Bloomberg official denies the story!
The anonymous denial! Works every time!
Again, it's not important if Bloomberg's campaign did this or not. What's important is that when the press asks him "yes" or "no," it should receive a simple, straight-forward, on-the-record "yes" or "no."
When trust and honesty are gone, it's really all over.
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