Bloomberg’s lecture on Weiner coverage, journalism

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It took a full ten minutes, but eventually Michael Bloomberg was asked, during the off-topic portion of his press conference this morning, if he wanted to say anything about the possibility that Anthony Weiner might run to succeed him.

"No," he said. "He's got to decide whether he wants to run or not."

He sighed.

"The fact that that's the question of the day—and not just NY1, in all fairness, the other organizations that try to give us news—there's got to be more important things than who runs, or his history," Bloomberg said.

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"We have major problems facing this city. That's what you should be focusing on. Maybe they don't sell inches or minutes, but it does seem to me that news organizations have an obligation to look beyond their bottom line and inform the public.

"That's why we give them some special privileges in terms of liability protection in writing things," he continued. "They have an obligation to tell the public what's going on in clear, concise terms, honestly, giving both sides of the argument, and not just blindly taking what somebody says, particularly without identifying who they are, or what the conflicts are where these things come from."

(Bloomberg's aides famously chased Weiner out of the 2009 mayor's race in part by planting unflattering stories about the congressman in the press.)

A different reporter followed up by pointing out that the question of who the next mayor is is pretty relevant.

"You know I haven't seen one article talking about Anthony Weiner's views on mass transit, like you talked about earlier, or anything else," he said. "They're all talking about something that is totally irrelevant to the problems of the city."

Earlier, when N.Y.U. president John Sexton said the word "synecdoche" in his remarks, Bloomberg asked how to spell it, and then said he was only asking to help out the New York Post.

"You know if it doesn't fit in a headline, they don't use the words either," he said. "It's a different newspaper that uses long words to say nothing."