When it Comes to Reporting on Government,
Our Press is Dysfunctional Also
Doug Biviano, candidate for NY State Assembly, asks a simple question of the local media: “If you want to throw the bums out for what they have done to our state, why are you not following the candidates who are challenging the bums?” Biviano is so frustrated about the media’s lack of ability to perform its primary function of informing the public that he decided to make a short Michael Moore-type film about it
View Biviano’s Online Video
The film shows Biviano visiting and being turned down by almost every major media company in the city, in his quest to get the press to cover his campaign. Biviano’s odyssey demonstrates that not only does the press refuse to cover the small handful of challengers running this year, they are not even open to discussion or debate about their decision.
Biviano is not an insider like most candidates running for office nowadays. He is just an average working guy who is outraged at what Albany has done to our State and to our families. Biviano needs the press to inform the voters of his integrity and his creative ideas for how to fix Albany. He does not have family ties to connected politicians, or lobbyists and special interest groups supporting him financially. He has no personal fortune to help him run for office and to pay for the endless mailings needed to win election.
He is forced to run against a government funded incumbent who gives out member item money to community and senior groups for political support, and uses her Assembly staff and mailings in her campaign. Biviano believes that it is the fault of the press that this vicious cycle of corrupt insiders controlling Albany is never broken. The media blackout prevents independent challengers from getting their messages across to voters.
Biviano’s film starts out in the graveyard of Trinity Church where the father of modern journalism, John Peter Zenger, is buried in an unmarked grave. Zenger was jailed in 1732 for trying to inform New Yorkers of the truth about their government, which should be the primary function of any journalist.
The film shows the NY Times editorial board hanging up on Biviano while he is in the lobby of the Times office building asking to speak to them about the May 16, 2010 editorial which said that if Albany did not fix itself up, New Yorkers should vote out incumbents - Jobs for Albany’s Do-Nothings. Biviano wanted to tell the board that it was their 2004 editorial “Casting A Meaning Vote,” which encouraged him to run his uphill campaign against a well entrenched incumbent. Doug wanted to tell the Times that his opponent, Joan Millman, as chairperson of the Election Law Committee is responsible for knocking dozens of challengers off the ballot every year. Doug believes that if those candidates who were knocked off the ballot over the last several years were allowed to run, a few would have won and gone on to Albany and fixed many of the state’s corruption and dysfunction problems.
At the Daily News Biviano wanted to talk to the editorial board about the three editorials written in the past year, calling Millman a “scoundrel” for having deceived her constituents by cutting the MTA budget in Albany, while protesting the transit agencies threats to cut the student Metro Cards in her district. One, Two and Three. The Daily News would not meet with Doug, despite the fact that on July 26, 2010 they listed his opponent Joan Millman, as one of the ”Albany Bums to Throw Out.”
When Biviano visited 30 Rock (WNBC TV), he was told to make an appointment with the assignment desk. When he called the desk, they refused to see him or schedule a meeting. He wanted to discuss with Gabe Pressman his article “A Culture of Corruption in Albany” the long time journalist had posted on the station’s blog describing most Albany elected officials as corrupt.
At NY1 Biviano was told that if he wanted coverage, he should create an event. Biviano replied that the campaign IS the event.
Biviano believes that today’s press, like Albany, is at best dysfunctional, at worst willingly protecting the insiders in government. Why else would the press report on the corruption and dysfunction in our state government, but not cover the rigged election system and the few challengers who are able to get through it?
“This generation’s journalists and publishers have failed to keep the public informed,” said Assembly candidate Biviano. “This failure means that more New Yorkers will lose their jobs, education and senior services will face additional cutbacks and most dangerous of all, it virtually guarantees that Albany’s problems will grow worse as incumbent after incumbent is reelected.”
“Perhaps not all the circulation losses by newspapers are the fault of the Internet,” Biviano continued. “I think it has to do with the trend towards soft, fluff, gossip-type coverage and the lack of ability to inform the public as John Peter Zenger did almost 300 years ago.”
Doug Biviano believes that without a properly functioning free press, our Democracy and nation are in trouble. He has decided to run to get this message out, to protect his family and to protect you.
Please join the fight:
Press Release and superb YouTube by Gary Tilzer