Andrew Cuomo's 'Wizard of Oz' Routine Irks Press

Reporters are tired of the Attorney General's late night, off the record phone calls, and want some face time. Cuomo doesn't seem to care what they think. So what are these reporters going to do about it?

Gripe and moan, but not much else. The man who seems destined to be the next governor of New York also maintains great popularity among voters, who don't seem to care that he only does conference calls, won't do a sit-down with NY1, or that he calls "a reporter's cellphone" to complain after midnight while said reporter is bar-hopping in Albany. He prefers instead to work the levers while staying "invisible, a booming authoritative voice sticking carefully to his chosen subject."

According to the Times:

[…] perhaps no elected official in New York spends more time on the telephone with reporters, calling them day and night, coaxing, massaging, disputing, and cajoling - always off the record. At a bar in Albany this year, a reporter's cellphone rang near midnight: it was Mr. Cuomo with a concern about news coverage of an event he had attended.

Cuomo's PR strategy, which he honed as a young advisor to his ex-governor father, is to twist arms behind the scenes and make sure the press corps stays on-message, which it has. And he doesn't let go of grudges. When NY1 brought up his child support dispute with ex-wife Kerry Kennedy during a 2006 interview, Cuomo shut the the station out and hasn't allowed an interview since.

They talk to the media quite a bit, just not in an official way," Edward-Isaac Dovere, the editor of City Hall, said of Mr. Cuomo and his staff. "There are not a lot of politicians who, when so much media attention is focused on them, have succeeded at really not being interviewed and not speaking on the record."

Still, whatever the grumblings, Mr. Cuomo's strategy has largely worked: He has avoided taking positions on controversial issues, even as the state, facing a large budget gap, grapples with the prospects of laying off state workers, raising taxes or eliminating programs."

When the election heats up, Cuomo will have to take a stand on the big issues. But he has some breathing room — when you're following public servants like Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, the bar has been set pretty much at ground level. Cuomo has also hired Hillary Clinton's PR pitbull, Phil Singer, to his communications staff, which will only make things more difficult for the press trying to get real answers out of him. Good luck!

[Image via Getty]