Gov. Andrew Cuomo's voice got heavy in a conference call with reporters on Thursday when talking about the late Jim Dwyer, the longtime metro columnist and chronicler of the city for decades who died this week.
Cuomo had known Dwyer for 30 years. He was a columnist who came a half generation after figures like Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hammill, Jack Newfield, and Wayne Barrett first arrived on the scene.
Like Dwyer, they're all gone now too.
Cuomo grew up in a household steeped in politics and the journalists that often come with that kind of life. He often talks about seeing and hearing guys like Breslin talk with his father and their back and forth.
And Cuomo nowadays, he said, feels "out of sync" with the journalism of today.
"As a kid, listening to Jack Newfield and Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hammill and Wayne Barrett and the back and forth, and it was a different type of journalism back then," Cuomo said. "It was not journalism that was 280 characters in a tweet. They wouldn't do that. They wouldn't think that you could do it."
Cuomo is perhaps the last governor who will care what's on A1 of The New York Times, the wood of The New York Post or the first 10 minutes of the local news. He's a news consumer. And, both on and off the record, is more often than not willing to provide critiques of the work of the reporters who cover him.
Is it working the refs? Absolutely. Cuomo isn't just a regular media critic, but the governor of New York. Like any elected official, he can bristle at how he's portrayed. On Thursday, he decried what is referred to as "both side-ism" in journalism -- the idea that a point and counterpoint should be given equal weight as opposed to driving home what's a fact and what isn't. It's a debate that goes on within the broader media ecosystem, especially in the age of Donald Trump.
"When journalism becomes 'he said, she said' - he says the world is round, she says the world is flat - when that's the extent of journalism, don't be surprised when half the population thinks the world is flat because there was no arbiter of truth," Cuomo said. "A higher endeavor of journalism, he says the world is round, she says the world is flat, however every scientist since the findings of Christopher Columbus say the world is round and there is absolutely no basis to say the world is flat. That's adding the discovery of the truth. Jim Dwyer was about the discovery of the truth, and he was brilliant."