Bloomberg Uses Fake Precinct, Fake Public Schoolkids in Campaign Ads
Now, O'Dwyer's reporter Kevin McCauley has accused the campaign of using fake public school kids in a brochure that lauds Bloomberg's record with city schools.
McCauley explains on the Web site odwyerpr.com that he got a copy of a brochure (pictured) titled "Mike Bloomberg's Public School Progress Report" in the mail and was "mystified" when he opened it.
"The centerpiece of the brochure showed Bloomberg chatting with two young girls standing in a school hallway. Lo and behold, there stood my daughter's classmates shooting the breeze with Mayor Mike, standing in the hall of their school, Xaverian, a private Catholic high school in Brooklyn."
McCauley writes he found out the girls were recruited by the Genesis middle school program at Xaverian to do a photo-shoot and television spot with Bloomie, and that they were asked to bring a change of clothes as their Catholic school uniforms would be a dead give away they weren't from a PS.
The writer also says the girls weren't told they would be stand-ins for public-schoolers: "They were told they had a chance to be on TV in a Bloomberg ad. TV face time is a powerful incentive for any 14-year-old girl."
McCauley insists it's lame the mayor hung around a private school with private-school kids in an ad about his dedication to the NYC school system: "NYC educates 1.1M students in its 1,499 schools. One of those buildings could have provided a safe ad production environment for Bloomberg. It would have been nice to have a couple of PS super-achievers share the spotlight with the Mayor."
Bloomberg campaign strategist Howard Wolfson says in an email to the Voice that it's not that simple: "Candidates for office in New York City are not allowed to film advertisements in public schools." Wolfson also says there were "children of supporters and volunteers" in the ad who are from public school. When asked how many PS students show up in the brochure or in the TV commercial, Wolfson was unable to provide details.
But to be clear, he says, "Candidates for office in NYC are not allowed to film advertisements in public schools, so they typically find private schools to film in.That is what we did. There are a broad cross section of children in our ad who attend both private and public schools."
In any event, pretending a private school is actually a public school isn't any more weird than sending a film crew to interview Bloomberg's 5000th Twitter follower.