This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 1, 2015:
On Tuesday the editorial board of the New York Times accused the New York City Police Department of taking its anger toward Mayor Bill de Blasio to the dangerous level of “essentially abandoning enforcement of low-level offenses.” But in the same opinion piece, the Times failed to note the irony that it was the enforcement of a low-level offense — selling untaxed cigarettes — that resulted in the now-famous police contact with Eric Garner that went viral on YouTube.
For the week starting on December 22, two days after two NYPD police officers were murdered in cold blood while sitting in their police cruiser, “traffic citations had fallen by 94 percent over the same period last year, summonses for offenses like public drinking and urination were down 94 percent, parking violations were down 92 percent, and drug arrests by the Organized Crime Control Bureau were down 84 percent,” the Times reported.
The Times editorial board blames “union bosses and right-wing commentators” for fomenting the resentment against de Blasio leading to this work slowdown, while also concluding that “the list of grievances” behind this resentment “adds up to very little.” But in reality, as we shall show, the Times presented its readers with a heavily edited version of the list to create this very impression.
For instance the Times editorial board considered de Blasio’s background as a radical communist revolutionary supporter in Nicaragua in 1998 as irrelevant, devoting not one word to this as a tipoff to his hard-left totalitarian ideology. Also, nothing was said in the Times opinion piece about de Blasio’s stint as campaign manager for hard-left Rep. Charlie Rangel or as manager for Hillary Clinton’s bid for the U.S. Senate in 2000.
What the Times celebrated instead was de Blasio’s ending of the highly controversial and (ultimately ruled to be) unconstitutional use of “stop and frisk,” the policy that led, over the previous 12 years, to four million stops of black and Hispanic young men. The newspaper wrote of his increased funding for the department and his attempts to end “racial profiling” despite the fact that black and Hispanic young men were mostly responsible for serious crime in the city.
The “blue rage” has been simmering ever since de Blasio refused to endorse a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner. Following that, de Blasio invited race-baiter Al Sharpton to join him and his Police Commissioner Bill Bratten in a public event at City Hall in a (not surprisingly) failed attempt to “unify” the city in the aftermath of the Garner grand jury decision. As the Times reluctantly admitted, this was likely a bad call on de Blasio’s part:
After Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, was killed by a swarm of cops on Staten Island, [de Blasio] convened a meeting with the police commissioner, William Bratton, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, giving Mr. Sharpton greater prominence than police defenders thought he should have had because Mr. Sharpton is a firebrand with an unsavory past.
“Unsavory” indeed. Volumes have been written about Sharpton’s life as a liar, a tax cheat, and an inciter of riots. Also left unsaid by the Times was the other connection between de Blasio and Sharpton: that de Blasio hired Sharpton’s former publicity agent, Rachel Noerdlinger, as his wife’s chief of staff. Noerdlinger’s past is also “unsavory,” but Times readers would have to look elsewhere for the details.
Leonard Levitt, a veteran cop reporter who runs NYPD Confidential — a website that publishes inside information about the NYPD — was able to expose Noerdlinger as a liar and a fraud on the Reuters website. Wrote Levitt:
There was de Blasio’s reluctance to fire Sharpton’s former spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger, whom the mayor had appointed as his wife, Chirlane McCray’s, $170,000-per-year chief of staff.
He seemed to shrug off the arrests of Noerdlinger’s live-in boyfriend, Hassaun McFarlan, as well as McFarlan’s and Noerdlinger’s 17-year-old son Khari’s anti-police postings in which they both called cops “pigs.”
Only after Khari was arrested for trespassing at a known drug location in the Bronx did Noerdlinger take an “indefinite leave of absence.”
De Blasio has continued to support Noerdlinger since the announcement. [Instead] he referred to news media reports on Noerdlinger’s personal life as “repulsive.”
There are other embarrassing incidents in Noerdlinger’s personal life that have raised significant questions about her character, and about de Blasio hiring and defending her — and later giving her an “indefinite leave of absence” instead of firing her.
Relevant facts that the New York Times editorial board overlooked include:
- Noerdlinger failed to disclose in a background questionnaire that she lived with her boyfriend, one Hassaun McFarlan, who has an “extensive criminal record.”
- The IRS placed a $28,190 federal tax lien on her Edgewater, New Jersey, home in 2011.
- The State of New York filed a tax warrant filed against her company,
- She has ignored a large number of unpaid fines, parking tickets, and tolls to the tune of more than $7,000.
None of this seems to matter to Mayor de Blasio, however, as ideology seems to trump morality in his worldview.
Then there was the matter of de Blasio’s comments concerning how he trained his son, Dante, to be on the lookout for the police while outside their residence. That training was not designed to endear himself to the NYPD. Said De Blasio:
Because of a history that still hangs over us [and] the dangers that he may face [as a mixed-race citizen in New York], we’ve had to literally train him … in how to take special care in any encounter he has with police officers.
There was the apparently meaningless promise by de Blasio that following Garner’s death, protesters wouldn’t “take over the city” as they did in Ferguson, Missouri. As Levitt noted:
Before they began, [Police Commissioner William] Bratton announced that protestors would not be allowed to take over the city — either its roadways or its bridges.
Instead, they were allowed to do just that.
Marchers appeared on TV shouting “What do we want? Dead cops!” while other marchers were busy attacking two police officers on the Brooklyn Bridge and beating them to the ground. De Blasio’s office described the attack as “alleged,” further infuriating officers who increasingly saw their veracity being challenged by the mayor.
The de facto work slowdown by the NYPD was preceded by an event at the hospital where the two policemen assassinated earlier this month had been pronounced dead, when NYPD officers literally turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio in disgust, frustration, and anger, as he walked down a hallway.
Levitt remarked in his Reuters column that the trouble with de Blasio is that his worldview conflicts with that of the NYPD: de Blasio considers the police to be the enemy that must be neutralized and demonized, while the officers face the criminal element in the streets of New York every day. Wrote Levitt:
His words and deeds don’t match. You had Noerdlinger’s son calling cops “pigs” and de Blasio doesn’t think that’s inappropriate? What message are you sending?
De Blasio says it’s just the union guys who are angry. It’s not. It’s everybody.
I’ve been covering this for 25 years and I have never seen anything like it.
Not according to the editors at the New York Times, who view de Blasio favorably and decided to come to his rescue on Tuesday with this observation: “The list of grievances adds up to very little, unless you look at it through the magnifying lens of resentment fomented by union bosses and right-wing commentators.”