Newark mayor Cory Booker is one of the Democratic Party’s bright young hopes. The 37-year-old politician was the subject of a glowing New Yorker profile and pals around with celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Tiki Barber and Barack Obama.
He also has been noted for charming the hell out of media types and earning about a million positive writeups in the national press — not bad for the mayor of a city best known for its disastrous 1967 riots.
Which makes it all the more surprising to find out that his press office thinks of themselves as being at war with the press. In fact, his press office considers their relationship with the media to be (their exact word!) “warfare.”
You see, Newark’s Star-Ledger recently uncovered an internal memo from Desiree Peterkin Bell, communications director over at Newark City Hall.
According to the internal memo:
“The motivation and objectives of reporters are entirely in conflict with that of public officials and administrators. At the heart of the relationship with the press and government officials is warfare. […] When senior administrators, and other administration officials are on the record in the press on unplanned policy announcements, or initiatives stakeholders and key influencers begin to view the organization as dysfunctional and undisciplined.”
Joan Whitlow of the Star-Ledger asks “is Spiro Agnew roaming City Hall?” All hyperbole aside, we think she has a point there.
Cory Booker has a reputation for good press relations. Regardless of whether there’s any veracity to the idea that the press and government officials are at “war,” we’d like to think that city governments don’t view journalists as some kind of mortal enemy.
But apparently, in this case, they do.