Andrew Cuomo: Tough Guy

There’s an interesting story in yesterday’s New York Times about a different, “old style” media relations approach practiced by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Eschewing a media relations posse and outside image shapers, Cuomo prefers to do is own outreach to the press, often calling them individually after hours, and speaking off the record. It seems as though he learned this “tough guy” approach from his dad, the former governor of New York, Mario Cuomo. In addition, instead of holding regular live press conferences, the younger Cuomo sets up conference calls, which frustrates journalists (particularly TV broadcasters) no end because they can’t take Cuomo’s body language into account. This media relations strategy intrigues me, because all I ever hear is how PR is supposed to be kind and gentle to the media, and bend over backwards to make sure journalists’ needs are met. Whatever journalists may think about him, Cuomo’s public approval ratings are high as he gets ready to launch his campaign for New York governor. Question: Do you think this approach will come back to haunt him in his quest for governor?

–Scott Van Camp

  • Jane Wood

    I was very surprised to hear that Cuomo’s approach of speaking to the media individually, and “off the record” worked, at all. First off, I feel that I would be very suspicious of someone who was not willing to approach the media the same way everyone else does; through what seems to me to be conventional methods, methods put into place to benefit both the public and the media in a just way. It is almost as if he has something to hide and very much so seems like having control is more important to this man than serving the needs of his community, but that would just be my take on it. I can see how some people may find this appealing because the fact that he takes time after-hours to call the media and talk with them one on one, giving them his divided attention comes off like he is going the extra mile and putting in extra effort, but to answer the question at the end about whether or not this approach of being a “tough guy” will come back to haunt him or not, I would say yes! The media is already fed up, and everyone knows that the media has a “funny” way of controlling public opinion. When it comes to election time for governor, if Cuomo’s opposition is more willing to work with the media, he is more likely to get more coverage and this could be an advantage for that person. Only time will tell whether or not these “old school” tactics will pay off for Cuomo or not.