Several right-wing media outlets are selectively quoting New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to claim that he believes you "check your personal freedoms at the door" in New York. In reality, Bloomberg explained that in certain commonsense circumstances, such as the prevention of drunk driving, it makes sense for the government to act to promote public health even when it curtails personal freedom.
During a March 24 interview on NBC's Meet The Press, during a discussion of New York City's health policies, moderator David Gregory asked Bloomberg "Where is it too far for government to go?" Bloomberg replied:
BLOOMBERG: I do not think we should ban most things. I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom, and that is, for example, if you're drinking, we shouldn't let you drive, because you'll kill somebody else. If you are carrying a gun, we shouldn't let you on an airplane. There's a lot of things that we do -- if there's asbestos in the classroom we should remove the kids from the classroom until you clean the air. But in terms of smoking, if you want to smoke, I think you have a right to do so and I would protect that. If you want to own a gun, I certainly think it's constitutionally protected. You certainly have a right to have a gun if you want. If you want to eat a lot and get fat, you have a right to do it. But our job as government is to inform the public.
Right-wing media are taking out of context Bloomberg's statement that "I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom" and ignoring the rest of his comment to smear him.
The Washington Times highlighted the comments in a piece headlined "NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Government has the right to 'infringe on your freedom.'" From the article:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Sunday: Sometimes government does know best. And in those cases, Americans should just cede their rights.
"I do think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom," Mr. Bloomberg said, during an appearance on NBC. He made the statement during discussion of his soda ban -- just shot down by the courts -- and insistence that his fight to control sugary drink portion sizes in the city would go forth.
Fox Nation also flagged the comments: