Sunday, November 20, 2011

How Could The Times Get Yet Another Story (In Addition to Atlantic Yards) So Wrong: OWS Evicting Bloomberg as Defender of Free Speech

You are almost certainly going to want to read my new National Notice article about how the New York Times misguidedly covered Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zucotti Park, implanting in its stories the deceptive meme that Bloomberg is a champion of First Amendment free speech rights: Sunday, November 20, 2011, Question of Truth For The Times: The Meme of Bloomberg as Champion of the First Amendment & Free Speech, Firmly Planted Before OWS Eviction.

How could the Times have gone so wrong in its coverage of yet another major news story?

Noticing New York has frequently covered and criticized the grossly inadequate, misleading and biased coverage that the New York Times has provided with respect to the Forest City Ratner Atlantic Yards megadevelopment and associated issues such as the abuse of eminent domain that is also occurring elsewhere, like Columbia University’s takeover of West Harlem. Here are some links to that coverage:
• Sunday, June 26, 2011
“Page One: Inside the New York Times” Reviewed; Plus The “New York Times Effect” on New York’s Biggest Real Estate Development Swindle

• Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Whither the New York Times? Noticing New York Comment Respecting a Manhattan Institute Sponsored Debate

• Sunday, August 21, 2011
Heritage of "Journalistic Enterprise and Courage" Duly Noted: The Modern Day New York Times Meets and Likes Its Boss Tweeds

• Wednesday, September 7, 2011
The New York Times Takes an Editorial Position on the Subject of Encouraging Competition and It’s Inconsistent With Its Position on Atlantic Yards
Heretofore the Noticing New York thesis about such atrocious coverage by the Times was that it was all the more insidious and dangerous because the paper of record is, in otherwise confidence-inspiring ways, head and shoulders over other newspapers in New York City, even all the rest of country. The Times dereliction with respect to the Atlantic Yards family of issues seemed to be a willful and conscious choice related to a deal the Times knowingly made with the devil when it attempted to buttress itself financially (while garnering some attention-grabbing cultural surface glitz) by partnering with real estate developer and subsidy-collector-specialist Forest City Ratner to use (abuse?) eminent domain to build a New Times Square headquarters building.

The problem is, as pointed out in prior Noticing New York articles, you cannot selectively cast a blind eye to the misconduct associated with the city’s biggest boondoggle because everything is connected. You cannot expect to elide the evils of Atlantic Yards in your pages because it leaves holes in your paper-of-record stories about everything else. Do you want to report about the Brooklyn Borough President's shady capitalization on conflicts of interest involving charities created for that purpose? There’s a gaping hole in this tale you tell unless Atlantic Yards gets featured front and center.

Whatever the Times may have conceptualized about ghettoizing its coverage of Atlantic Yards into some sort of safely segregated backwater, where real news could be ignored and PR advertorial-style fluff could innocuously occupy space on its sports and other pages, it hasn’t panned out. Bruce Ratner’s penchant for perpetually and outrageously pushing boundaries of public offense has worked to ensure that the Atlantic Yards stories never stop rotating through news cycle while raising all sorts issues, issues embarrassing for the Times to report on and embarrassing for it to ignore.

You can’t report the news selectively. Everything is connected. In fact, the biggest story the Times is failing to cover well when it doesn’t cover the all Atlantic Yards issues is the story of crony capitalism. That has national implications. Without a crystal clear and firm handle on cony capitalism the Times can’t adequately cover New York City’s mayor, Bloomberg, a man who has national political aspirations. And without a crystal clear and firm handle on cony capitalism how good is your reporting on Occupy Wall Street going to be?

The inadequacy of Times coverage of both Occupy Wall Street and Mayor Bloomberg brings us back to the aforementioned new National Notice article about how the Times was styling Mr. Bloomberg as a defender of free speech while it covered his eviction of Occupy Wall Street. How could the Times have gotten yet another story so wrong? To learn about how wrong they got it, read National Notice.Link

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