Paterson digs in, again charges racism in coverage

Even as the news gets worse for Gov. David Paterson, he has continued to dig in his heels over comments he made suggesting racial bias is at play in the negative media coverage he has received.

In an interview that surfaced Monday — just days after a radio appearance in which the governor asserted that criticism of him shows America is “not in the post-racial period” — Paterson blasted the media for “trying to control the politics.”

‘There are some folks in the media who think that it’s alright to racially stereotype,” he told the Web site Borrero Report. “Part of what I feel is that one very successful minority is permissible, but when you see too many success stories then some people get nervous.”

A Siena poll released Monday showed the governor with his lowest approval ratings since taking office last year. Just 19 percent of voters surveyed gave him positive marks, with 78 percent having a negative view.

It is unclear whether Paterson’s lashing out at the media is a political strategy or simply frustration.

“Team Paterson is making a big mistake,” said Joe Mercurio, a Democratic consultant. “He’s lucky the (Siena) poll was taken before his interview on the race charge.”

A spokeswoman for Paterson declined to comment.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended Paterson, saying his unpopularity can be attributed to the economy.

“You get, sometimes, very frustrated when you’re trying to get your message out and the press isn’t focused on that,” Bloomberg said.

Meanwhile, in an unusual move, the White House has again disavowed Paterson’s remarks on Friday linking his own troubles to critics of President Barack Obama’s health care plan and suggested both were motivated by racism.

“There’s an old political adage,” said Helen Desfosses, a professor public policy at SUNY Albany. “‘When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.’”

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