10:10 am Apr. 13, 2012
In news that is both shocking and unsurprising, New York Post state editor Fred Dicker has gotten a contract from HarperCollins to write a biography of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
"The governor and his staff plan on cooperating with Mr. Dicker's book," Cuomo's spokesman told Keith Kelly, Dicker's colleague at the Post, who reported the deal.
Dicker is an institution in Albany, and is hugely influential. He is also, to the extent that a member of the press can be, a Cuomo insider; Times Union editor Rex Smith told Reid Pillifant a while back that he was "appalled" at the way the Post had become a "delivery system" for Cuomo and said, not admiringly, "I think that the way Fred covers things skews reporting in the Capitol in general. Entire episodes in the Capitol occur because of Fred’s decision about the way to handle them."
In reaction to today's news, the Times' Nick Confessore referred to the latest transaction between the administration and Dicker as a "member item."
In an email to me, Dicker said it would be inaccurate to describe his book as an "authorized biography" of Cuomo since " neither the gov nor any of his people have any kind of prior- or post-approval on what I write."
There is also another Cuomo bio in the works, by Vanity Fair's Michael Shnayerson. On whether Cuomo would cooperate with that other one, the governor's spokesman Josh Vlasto told the Post's Kelly, "We make a decision on a case by case basis and no decision has been made yet on that book."
UPDATE: Dicker, on his radio show, harshly criticized New York Times Albany bureau chief Danny Hakim for tweeting about the book as an "authorized" biography, repeating an argument he made to me earlier.
Dicker tried rebuffing the notion that his coverage of Cuomo is unduly sympathetic, saying that Mario Cuomo had "a very hostile" attitude toward him when he was governor. Dicker also referred to the notion, attributed to the younger Cuomo and cited in a Times front-page profile of him, that he was a "caged animal" who needed to be fed.
Dicker said his book will not "recapitulate press clippings" and that he's looking for any information about Cuomo that hasn't been made public earlier.
The book is Dicker's first, and is apparently one of several being written about the governor.
Vlasto told Politico the administration is currently cooperating with several ongoing book projects.
Separately, Vlasto told me the other books are about how New York legalized same-sex marriage, which was a watershed moment in the national debate on that issue, and Cuomo's term as New York attorney general.
More by this author:
- Queens goes for Christine, Melinda and Reshma; Dicker's 'confidential' inquiry
- Dicker, now a Cuomo enemy, bridles at the Josh Vlasto treatment