The New York mayor discussed the role Fox News has played in US politics and the progressive shift in the Democratic party
To New York mayor Bill de Blasio, Rupert Murdoch is directly responsible for Donald Trump.
In fact, De Blasio argues: If you could remove News Corp from the last 25 years of American history, we would be in an entirely different place.
In his view, without the malign influence of Murdochs media empire and its conservative Trump-supporting Fox News we would be a more unified country. We would not be suffering a lot of the negativity and divisiveness were going through right now. I cant ignore that.
De Blasio spoke to the Guardian in New Orleans, hours before he took the stage at the annual Netroots Nation conference of progressive activists.
The New York mayor, who has never been on the best of terms with the famously aggressive press in his hometown, has his own criticisms of Americas media but has not restrained his attacks on Trump for branding reporters the enemy of the people.
There is no comparison between a progressive critique of the media and overwhelmingly corporate media, by the way and a president who does not believe in free speech and is trying to undermine the norms of democracy, he said.
He did make clear that if you see a steady decline in democracy, were going to have to vividly defend a lot of media we dont agree with. But I dont want to give them a free pass on what they have done to all of us.
The venue presented an opportunity for De Blasio, who describes himself ideologically as one part social democracy, one part New Deal, one part liberation theology, to lay out his vision for progressive politics.
It also provided a national platform for someone who has paid several visits to Iowa and mentions the early presidential primarystatesof Nevada and New Hampshire without prompting. De Blasio acknowledged he was interested in continuing in public service after the term-limited mayor finishes his stint in city hall.
De Blasio was once considered the new face of progressive politics in the United States after his victory in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York in 2013. However, he has since receded in the national spotlight both as he has dealt with the everyday business of governing New York City and as other figures such as Vermont senator Bernie Sanders have come to the fore.
While De Blasio touted his record in New York, attention at Netroots was focused on a recent congressional primary in the Big Apple rather its governance. The shock victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over incumbent Joe Crowley in a low turnout congressional primary captured national and international attention in part because Ocasio-Cortez campaigned openly as a Democratic Socialist. But, to De Blasio, the debate over the term socialist was in some ways pedantic.
He described himself as a social democrat and said that we should all be very comfortable saying that a social democratic vision that is active government addressing peoples needs is the direction our party has to go.
De Blasio added the caveat that I think a lot of this discussion in America really is essentially a social democratic vision thats very synonymous with a progressive vision. I dont see a lot of difference there.
He insisted that there was no contradiction between identifying as a progressive or as a socialist. Just like if you say Im a Democrat, theres more than one way to obviously be a Democrat maybe too many ways to be a Democrat I think its more than one way to be a socialist, said De Blasio.
He also celebrated that the national conversation now allows people to identify as a social democrat or a Democratic Socialist or a socialist. The fact that the word is now been liberated as part of the discussion is very, very healthy, said the mayor.
If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.
And ... Don't forget to have fun!