Cuomo isn’t talking to Fred Dicker, at least not publicly

Fred Dicker watching Andrew Cuomo. (Matt Ryan via New York Now)
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In addition to being the New York Post's state editor and host of a must-hear radio show about state politics, Fred Dicker is also working on a biography of Governor Andrew Cuomo, for which the governor and his aides are making themselves available. Or were, at any rate.

Dicker is an Albany actor rather than just an observer, for sure, and to say that he plays favorites is an understatement. Politicians speak, usually anonymously, through Dicker's columns, often saying things that are much more aggressive and, significantly, less accurate than anything they'd actually put their names to. 

We know this.

But Dicker is a repository of information about state government and politics and his influence has only grown with the ascension of Cuomo, who long made Dicker's columns his outlet of choice for anonymous criticisms, threats and statements of aspiration, even as Dicker's radio show provided him a forum to say more charming things on the record.

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The relationship between Cuomo and Dicker goes back many years, to when Cuomo was an aide to his father. The relationship has drawn lots of attention over the years and was the basis of a front page New York Times story in 2011.

Dicker has been less useful to Cuomo recently, though, their functional alliance deteriorating following Cuomo's passage of a package of gun control measures after Sandy Hook. Dicker, a passionate supporter of gun rights, revolted. Their public relationship hasn't been the same since. 

Dicker's criticism of Cuomo's third-year agenda has grown more insistent. Dicker mocked Cuomo's State of the State speech, with its emphasis on abortion rights and gun control, and the noticable absence of any decisive movement on hydrofracking.

Yesterday, alarmed by reaction to what looked very much like a planted Dicker column about a prospective coup against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver that was carried on the front page of the Post yesterday, Cuomo's office sent out an "updated" schedule for the governor, announcing he would be calling into an Albany radio show.

Following a recent, remarkable pattern, the radio show Cuomo appeared on was not one that is hosted by Fred Dicker.

Whereas Cuomo appeared regularly on Dicker's show for years, he has now not been a guest on Dicker's show since February 1, according to a search of the governor's public schedules.

 

That 67-day (and counting) gap is extraordinary, according to a review of Cuomo's public schedules from 2011 and 2012.

In 2011, Cuomo went from February 25 to May 20 without appearing on Dicker's show. But Cuomo was doing very few interviews at the time. Between February 2011 and May of 2011, Cuomo's schedule shows he did five interviews, three of which were with Dicker.

In his first two years in office, Cuomo had 91 public interviews. These do not count interviews Cuomo had with newspaper editorial boards, or other news interviews not listed on Cuomo's public schedule. Newspaper interviews are made public after the fact, since the hosting news outlet often generates a story from the meeting. But the interview is not viewed live by the public and not included in the governor's public schedules.

Of the 91 interviews on Cuomo's public schedules, 34 were with Dicker; 21 were with Susan Arbetter, host of "The Capitol Pressroom," and 12 were with former governor David Paterson, who became a great booster of Cuomo after ceding the governorship to him and whose afternoon radio show on WOR710 was canceled last December.

Back in January, in one of Cuomo's last appearances on Dicker's show, the two men agreed to disagree on the gun control bill. They discussed other issues and the exchange was largely amicable.

Some headlines from Dicker's columns since then: "Cuomo loses his mojo;" "Gov faking care of business, execs fume;" "Andy fracked into a corner;" "Gov secretly breaks double-dip' vow;" "

Dicker's April 3 column, following the recent corruption scandals:

"So much for last week’s orgy of self-congratulations from Gov. Cuomo and the legislative leaders on how much state government has supposedly improved. … Sorry governor, but you, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) have to do a whole lot more than pass a few on-time budgets and an updated version of the ethics law to prove that Albany is more than an ethics cesspool where almost everything is up for sale."

I emailed Dicker yesterday to ask about Cuomo's attendance on his show. Dicker politely declined to comment.