A lighthearted reaction to a rather silly complaint was met with uncalled for rancor this past Wednesday. The incident began when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo foolishly blamed his state’s budgetary shortfalls on the state of Florida. It is true that New Yorkers are fleeing to the Sunshine State to save big time on taxes, but the onus for changing that situation is on Cuomo.
Sen. Rick Scott, who up until January was Florida’s governor, quipped “Guilty as charged” on Twitter noting his state’s lesser tax burden, balanced budget, and job openings as just some of the allures that are drawing New Yorkers south:
.@NYGovCuomo is blaming FL for NY’s population loss and budget shortfall.
I say: guilty as charged.
Lower taxes ✅
Balanced budget ✅
Job openings ✅
Better weather & beaches ✅
FL population ⬆️ NY population ⬇️
Keep doing what you’re doing, Governor. https://t.co/FEDZhrPaO6
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) February 14, 2019
The tweet was not meant as a taunt, but that is how it was taken by Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi, who shot back in a since-deleted tweet:
Although Azzopardi refused to offer context for his tweet, it seems fairly obvious he was referring to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a deadly school shooting occurred nearly a year ago to the day.
Further confirming the ugly intent of the tweet is Azzopardi’s reputation. According to an article at City & State published in July 2017, “Albany observers describe his tweets as insulting, below the belt, attacking, snarky or merely strange.”
The Media’s Response
Aside from a one-sentence blurb in Politico’s New York Playbook, reporters in the Empire State have been largely silent abour Cuomo’s top adviser making light of a mass shooting. Numerous outlets from NY1 to the Times Union (Albany’s largest newspaper) to Spectrum News, were tagged in a screenshot of Azzopardi’s comments. None responded or followed up with the adviser about his tasteless comment.
Why would home state journalists ignore such an ugly remark? Take a trip down Azzopardi’s Twitter timeline and you will see reporters almost daily playing footsies with him, joking back and forth, liking and retweeting his attacks on other politicians, and never fact-checking the most absurd defenses of the Cuomo administration.
It is clear they enjoy access to the administration and one of its top gatekeepers. Reporting honestly on Cuomo or some one he holds in high regard could jeopardize that. Rather than do their jobs, they’d rather cling to their perceived friendship with Azzopardi.
For his part, Azzopardi has remained silent despite the deluge of comments sent his way through social media — an oddity for a guy known for “insulting, below the belt, attacking, snarky” tweets on a consistent basis.
Cross posted at the Mental Recession