Governor Cuomo: “He was an authentic voice for New York. He was the people’s voice.”
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo delivered remarks on the death of Jimmy Breslin.
AUDIO of the Governor’s remarks is available here.
A rush transcript is available below.
I grew up with Jimmy Breslin – he was a great friend of my father’s. His first wife, Rosemary, was great friends with my mother. The whole family was close. Jimmy’s sons and daughters were approximate to my sisters. So the kids were friends and the parents were great friends.
He was a great, great character, Jimmy Breslin. He was a great New York figure. He was, for many years, the epitome of a New Yorker. He did a commercial for Piels Beer in 1969 or something, where he was in a bar, and he had on a tie and he said, “Beer is beer” or something like that. But he was a quintessential New Yorker.
He was irascible, tough, but he was an authentic voice for New York. He was the people’s voice. I think we are losing that more and more in journalism, frankly, where when you read a Jimmy Breslin column, you knew who he was and what his values were and if there was a Jimmy Breslin column, those were his words and his thoughts and no editor was going to change what he said or what he wrote. If an editor did try to change what he said or what he wrote, it would have been a very short conversation. So he brought an authenticity to journalism. He brought a perspective to journalism. He gave people comfort because they knew Jimmy Breslin was on the case. I would be with him in public on occasion, and he would get a great response from people – people would come up to him and say, “You go get him, Jim. You tell it like it is, Jim." That’s who he was and I think that’s one of the reasons people had confidence in the overall system.
I lost my father two years ago. Jimmy and my father were very, very close friends for a lot of years. So for me, personally, it brings back memories of my father and Jim, but he was a journalistic giant. And there were very few authentic journalists who spoke for the people and believed they were going to expose injustice. That’s what he did and he is a grave loss. He was at Newsday, he was at the News, he was at the Post. He was at the News for a very long time, and then he was at Newsday. But he was not a blogger or a tweeter, or a ten-word guy. That’s not who he was.
I don’t think you could tell the truth in a tweet. I think many ways we are degrading the truth, and we are degrading facts and we are degrading dialogue in journalism, and he was old school. I miss him very much, it’s painful and it brings back my father. And I feel for his family, all of whom I grew up with.