Mayor Bloomberg’s spokesperson jumped down the throat of an education expert on Wednesday about a topic the mayor has been defensive about: school test scores. The tension arose when Education Reporter Liz Green of Gotham Schools asked readers for feedback before coming on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show to discuss test scores.
Before appearing on the show today, Green tweeted: “Going on Brian Lehrer this am to talk test scores w/ Dan Koretz. Send talking points.”
Bloomberg’s spokesperson, Stu Loeser, noticed the item, reposted it, and added: “what???”
Green tweeted back to Loeser: “What are you offended by? I was asking twitter followers to participate in a joking matter. What’s wrong with that?”
Loeser questioned how Green could be “kidding," and noted that she posted the request for information “b4 she went on @brianlehrer as an educ expert, right?”
My two cents on the matter:
Loeser is trying to undermine the authority of Green by implying that she is reliant on others to give her an analysis about education, her field of expertise. Thus, anything critical Green may say of NYC test scores won't hold much water.
But reporters, myself in particular, often announce their upcoming appearances on TV and radio, and add an invitation for people to send information they consider relevant. Sometimes before a press conference or an interview, I’ll also ask Twitter followers what questions they're interested in hearing answers to.
The idea that using a reporters’ outreach for input as a way to undermine their ability to act as an authoritative voice would leave, I think, a lot fewer experts in the field.
Update 1: An email Loeser sent to me reads: "A reporter on Twitter seeking tips seems different than an expert seeking TPs [talking points], no?"