Friday, October 21, 2005

DO NOT BUY THIS SUNDAY'S NEW YORK TIMES

If you need to read it, read it online. If you need to do the crossword puzzle, I will find a way to get a copy from a subscriber and personally photocopy it for anyone that sends me an e-mail.

My boyfriend Alex works at an arts organization that gets him the Sunday Times Arts & Leisure section in advance of its publication on Saturday. There's a puff piece on the cover this week that basically praises Mayor Bloomberg because he's filthy rich and can buy things.

Policies, qualifications, results, or not it is DISGUSTING the way Mayor Bloomberg is buying the 2005 election. It's disgusting that unions and elected Democrats are accepting substandard contract bribes and kowtowing to him in hopes of saving political face (SUCK IT, Eva Moskowitz - this one's for you). And it's disgusting that the poor and middle class to whom he has no connection, allegiance, or even apparent interest are supporting him.

Don't let him buy you, and don't buy this Sunday's New York Times. Hell, if they drop it off on your doorstep write REFUSED on it in big black marker and stuff it in a mailbox. Alex is e-mailing them the letter that follows. Feel free to take similar action.

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"It's one thing for your paper to endorse a candidate in its Op-Ed section, but quite another to use a front-page story in the Arts section as a campaign ad. Jennifer Steinhauer's piece that will appear in the Sunday, October 23rd Arts Section of The New York Times is a blatant endorsement of Mayor Bloomberg's reelection campaign.

I am shocked at the poor ethics demonstrated by the planned release of this piece two weeks prior to the mayoral election in New York City. The article fails to mention the election at all, as though not doing so relieves the Times from objective journalism. Yet, the piece becomes all the more political by the absence of this acknowledgement, and even more so because the Mayor has done nothing lately to merit the attention.

Why publish this article now, if not to support Bloomberg's reelection? The fact that he purchases art and has borrowed famous pieces for City Hall is old news. And as an artist myself I am floored that because he buys art that would merit the accolade, "his administration has done more to promote and support the arts than any in a generation."

And just what kind of art are we talking about here? Lichtenstein and Noguchi? Those artist are so mainstream, their works so expensive, it's like saying that if the mayor bought a fleet of SUV's he would become a promoter and supporter of the automotive workers of America. Bullcrap.

Your article plays right into the kind of class issues at stake in the upcoming Mayoral Election on November 8th. Bloomberg, with all the money in the world to buy all the advertising in the world gets free marketing from the Times for what? For having the money and the power to acquire expensive art. Oh wait, but as a private citizen, the mayor has contributed dollars to the Carnegie Corporation to benefit small and medium-size cultural institutions in New York City. Well again I ask-why give the mayor attention for donations he gives out of his own pocket when plenty of philanthropists around the city do the same? Why?

This is not news; it is blatant political endorsement.

Sure, embedded in the article are bits about how artists can no longer afford to live in the city, and how the boroughs are also becoming too expensive, but the overall piece lavishes praise.

As an artist and a staff person of an arts organization I believe that in order to deserve ANY praise as the greatest promoter and supporter of the arts in a generation a mayor would have to do more than buy and display art (how posh!). He would have to support rent stabilization/control, low-income housing, and he would have to create public arts initiatives that involve local artists and their communities. That would be a candidate to vote for.

Shame on the Times for supporting Bloomberg in the guise of arts news and shame for applauding him for nothing more than buying power.

Alex Barreto
Jackson Heights, New York"

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