THE EMPTY SUIT TAKING A POUNDING OVER GAG ORDER, JUST LATEST IN SERIES OF POLITICAL DISASTERS THAT MAKE RE-ELECTION DELUSIONAL
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014) — There was delicious irony displayed a couple weeks ago when Northeast Public Radio WAMC ran its story (on air and website) on the Pittsfield mayor’s gag order that is trick-or-treating as a “press protocol,” “media policy,” or whatever tired phrase the corner office may be using in its latest attempt to present a swine’s snout as a lady’s finger.
WAMC reporter Jim Levulis included this closing note to his report:
Blogger and former newspaperman Dan Valenti says his website was blocked on City Hall computers and has since been unblocked. Sabourin denies that ever happened. Valenti, who refers to Mayor Bianchi as “The Empty Suit” on his website and talk show, says he has been denied interviews with Bianchi for asking tough questions.
“If the city decides through the mayor that a certain reporter, broadcaster or member of the media is quote unquote unfriendly, they’re not going to get a call back,” said Valenti.
“Mayor Bianchi did not return a call for comment in time for this broadcast.”
Savor that last line.
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The Empty Suit has been peddling this gasoline-soaked press “policy” as a way to make city officials “more responsive” to the media. Sure. Reminds you of Orwell‘s 1984, where “Hate is Love” and “War is Peace.” This Owellianism, from a mayor who stands publicly accused of racism (Doreen Wade) and bullying (Craig Gaetani), can also be branded ironic. Consider this remark that Julia Sabourin, the mayor’s mouthpiece, made to Levulis:
“Things have been running a lot more smoothly and we’ve been getting I think a lot more people involved in the press than were before,” Sabourin said. “Sometimes reporters have relationships with certain people in City Hall and they don’t always get to hear all sides of the story so we’ve been able to connect reporters with everyone involved in a project.”
As Orwell might have said, “Incommunicado is Communication.”
Sabourin, Miss Scopes Money Trial of 2013, occupies the position of Barbie Doll in the mayor’s outer office.
“Things have been running a lot more smoothly …” Barbie assures us. What “things?” “[M]ore smoothly” compared to what, exactly? As for the “relationships” that “reporters have with certain people in City Hall,” that has continued in spite of the policy. At least it has with this reporter.
” ‘… we’ve been able to connect reporters with everyone involved in a project.’”
What reporters? What projects?
Barbie doesn’t say.
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Then we come to this part of Levulis’ story:
“We always try and get every side of every story,” [Eagle editorial writer Bill] Everhart said. “And the best way to get every side of every story is with open communication and complete transparency to whatever extent is possible. So if the mayor has that concern his policy is not going to address it. It will probably make it even more difficult to get every side.”
An Eagle editorial published five days before the mayor’s letter questioned why the policy came about now during Mayor Bianchi’s second term.
“It’s really no secret that the mayor is not a great fan of dealing with the press [and] is suspicious I think of The Eagle in general,” said Everhart[.]
Bianchi is “not a great fan of dealing with the press.” Understatement rides again. THE PLANET concurs, more proof that the mayor has been in over his head since Day 1. The press policy has dragged him down further, or are the rumblings of a recall effort just the repetitious chirping of bluebirds?
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On Friday (July 11) The Eagle published this letter from THE PLANET:
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
In his letter defending his press policy (July 7), Mayor Daniel Bianchi conveniently ignores two important facts. First, he never meant for this policy to be made public. When he first issued it (June 24), he did so in a memo to department heads on hard copies that were hand-delivered. He wanted no electronic copy to exist, to prevent use of the “Forward” button.
Second, because the policy was meant to be strictly internal, the intention wasn’t to “be efficient and responsive,” as the mayor claims. Rather, it was to serve as a gag order on department heads, who were instructed to refer all press inquiries into the mayor’s office. There, the mayor would decide who could respond and what to say, a lame attempt to block “negative” news in favor of the positive spin.
After I obtained a copy of the policy and made it public, only then did the mayor acknowledge its existence. Prior to making it public, his office denied such a policy existed. When I called the mayor’s office and began reading from the policy, Julia Sabourin, his assistant, became flustered. Everything the mayor has said or written about the policy since then has been an attempt to cover his tracks.
The last topic this mayor should ever address is “transparency.”
The writer is an investigative blogger (www.planetvalenti.com) and TV host.
These comments are representative of the reaction our letter drew:
Nice work Dan.
Just too bad the Eagle couldn’t or wouldn’t do that.
Than again, isn’t that a journalists job?
And to think, he did it for free.
Whenever politics is involved you know common sense will never Prevail!
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People have caught on to Bianchi, whose entertainment of re-election at this point borders on the delusional.
There are more things coming down the pike than are dreamed of in TES’ philosophy.
“The great effectiveness of irony as a literary device is the impression it gives of restraint.” — William Flint Thrall, professor of English, University of North Carolina, 1936.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLE.”
LOVE TO ALL.