This weekend’s exhaustive profile of Mayor Bloomberg in The New Yorker richly tells us a lot of things we already know — how everyone knows he’s going to win reelection, how his money manages to buy a lot of criticism, and how he’s partially just running again because there’s not really anything better for him to do. The best thing we already knew that gets emphasized by writer Ben McGrath, though, is that Mayor Bloomberg is kind of a bitch. It wasn’t long ago that he made headlines by calling a reporter “a disgrace” for asking about term limits, or snapped at a handicapped journalist who lost control of his tape recorder. And McGrath collects even more bons mots from the lovably churlish mayor (who, by the way, keeps a hockey mask hanging “scalp-like” in his campaign offices ever since hockey enthusiast Anthony Weiner dropped out of the mayoral race).
Here are some highlights:
• “‘My ethics are different than some of these people,’ meaning publishers like Murdoch, the owner of the Post, and Mortimer Zuckerman, the owner of the Daily News. ‘Rupert, and probably Mort, would say, ‘It’s my newspaper,’ he said. ‘I would never try, and have never tried, to influence a story at Bloomberg.’”
• “‘I think if you look, we’ve done more in the last seven years than — I don’t know if it’s fair to say more than [Robert] Moses did, but I hope history will show the things we did made a lot more sense,’ Bloomberg said. ‘You know, Moses did some things that turned out not to be great: cutting us off from the waterfront, putting roads all along the water.’”
• “We’re down to the point where eighty-five per cent of our murder victims have criminal records, which means you’re really getting down to gun dealers killing gun dealers.”
• Then there’s this example of him talking to a reporter:
Q: Mayor, can you respond to Anthony Weiner’s criticisms of you this morning?
A: I didn’t hear what Anthony Weiner said, so it’s kind of hard to respond, and I’m not worried about campaigning. What we’re trying to do today is spent working on the budget.
Q: If I could just read you a quote that he said this morning?
A: I just said that I didn’t hear him, and I’m not going to respond, so if you want to waste your question, you’ve just done it …
Q: Would you like us to read what he said?
A: I don’t have any interest in reading. I’ve got enough things to read. I’ve got a pile this big on my desk every day.
Q: We would read it to you. That’s what I’m saying.
“The gift he gives is that his personality is not just neutral,” one reporter eventually told McGrath. “If he weren’t sometimes such a dick, it would be an unbearable beat.”
The Untouchable [NYer]