Yesterday, New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio arrived at least thirty minutes late to his announcement that William Bratton will serve as New York City's next police commissioner, and members are the press were not having it.
For those media members who will be forced to cover Hizzoner for the next four years, De Blasio's tardiness has already become predictable. He has been late to a number of events, notably arriving one hour after a get-out-the-vote rally began at 11:30 a.m. in November. When asked if he overslept, de Blasio responded with a non-apology. "I am not a morning person," he said. He continued, “I had a challenging night. I got a call at 5 in the morning that threw off my sleep cycle, but other than that, it’s all good." De Blasio's explanation soon became a pro-late-night manifesto: “I think we should reorient our society [to] staying up late."
During the campaign, Republican candidate Joe Lhota pointed to de Blasio's sleep habits as a sign of weakness. "Being mayor is a 24-hour-a-day job, and you need to be physically prepared for it," he said, adding, "The idea that he gets interrupted in the middle of the night at 5 o'clock in the morning, about the time that I get up every day, actually."
Although de Blasio's inability to wake up may have contributed to his image as a down-to-earth man of the people when he was up against kitten-hater Joe Lhota, now the habit could become a liability. His antics have started to turn members of the press (who were instructed to arrive between 9:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. for yesterday's 10 a.m. event) against him. They took to Twitter to vent some rage:
BdB news on BdB time. Transition office requested an aerly pre-set of media. Event starting at least 30 min late.— Michael Howard Saul (@MichaelHwrdSaul) December 5, 2013
Been waiting for 40 mins for de Blasio news conference to start. He's typically been late, but this is crazy. A sign of things to come?!?— Matt Pieper (@MattPieper12) December 5, 2013
The New York Observer reports that WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer eventually abandoned coverage of the story, announcing his frustration on air:
“Let me say that there are limits to even our patience. And we have other things that we want to talk about on the show today and all kinds of great guests lined up. So we will come back at some point to Mayor-elect de Blasio and his presumed incoming police commissioner, Bill Bratton,” said WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer after 45 minutes of waiting. “We’ll return to the news about the mayor and the police commissioner when it actually happens,” he later said, promptly moving on.
New York Magazine suggests that de Blasio is training the press corps to run on his schedule: "Perhaps the new inside line for those covering City Hall won't be on matters of policy, but matters of schedule — as in, how late can I be?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.