Monday, October 1, 2012

New York Times Ghost Article: The Searchable Remnants On The Web Of Banished (Anti-Ratner/Anti-Jay-Z?) “Barclays” Center Opening Article

(Ghostly image above is explained below.)

My lawyer’s counsel to clients has always been that with computers and the internet you cannot expect that anything will truly disappear, so that what is most important is what you do in the first place; what you try to delete is likely to come back to haunt you.  Hence, the image above: a ghost fashioned by arrangement of the searchable scraps that still turn up of reporting the New York Times published about the protests on Friday that accompanied the weekend’s opening of the “Barclays” Ratner/Prokhorov Center.  (Community protest events were held from Wednesday through Saturday.)  Friday was the official opening of Barclays Center with a Jay-Z concert although the night before, also evoking community protest, was the heralded but more private, opening of Jay-Z’s “40-40 Club.”

Jay-Z is the superstar rapper with roots in Brooklyn who was made a small-fraction partner of the developer/subsidy collector, Forest City Ratner, in exchange for help selling the developer’s mega-monopoly to the community.  In this regard the developer’s divide-and-conquer strategy, with which Ratner had appreciable but mixed success, involved an effort to create racial division in the neighborhood.  Having enlisted Jay-Z in a front man role early on, a Jay-Z event opening of the arena was almost a forgone conclusion.

The Times reported the community’s organized objections to the arena’s opening that occurred on Friday and then deleted that reporting, apparently because it was too anti-Forest City Ratner, and maybe because it was too anti-Jay-Z.  The developer built the Times headquarters in partnership with the Times and now owns it.  The Times has used Jay-Z to promote its sales (see below) and conversely has promoted Jay-Z (see below).  The reporting that was deleted served to make clear that, to whatever extent the developer had succeeded in creating racial divisions in the community, the community was now far less divided in its opposition to the Ratner mega-monopoly and to Jay-Z's promotion of it given the outing of the developer’s bad faith in regard to nearly every one of his "promises."

The haunting part for the Times is that the deletion of the article that contained the reporting critical of Ratner and Jay-Z was apparently a violation of the Times own policy.  For a complete and easy read of the description of the protests the Times deleted from its web site compared against the pro-Ratner, pro-Jay-Z narrative it substituted that was much more disparaging in tone to the community’s objections see: Saturday, September 29, 2012, Report: How The Times Expunged Its Own First Draft Of History On “Barclays” Center Opening To Replace It With The Pro-Ratner Narrative It Favors.

When you click on the searchable links to the deleted Times article still on the web you now get either that substituted article or something like the image below that also isn't what you are looking for:
To see how pieces of the deleted article can still be stitched together for an ectoplasmic remanifestation of the original, now-deleted, article summoned out of the internet ether, a reassembling of what still appears when the reporting is web-searched—  even though it is no longer corporeally available on the Times web site itself—  see the arrangement of those assembled scraps that conclude this article.

Promotional Hype For Jay-Z Linked To Community's Criticism

Some of what appears in a web search for the article’s deleted reporting is mildly amusing and instructive.

In the words of the original Times reporting Umar Jordan is “a community organizer from Bedford Stuyvesant who also once supported the project.”  He spoke decisively about how he now opposes it.  When you search for Umar Jordan’s deleted criticisms you find out that, because he addressed himself to Jay-Z, his statements were picked up by a slew of sites that robotically snip and incorporate into their feeds mentions about Jay-Z, making, in this case, the automatic (and incorrect) assumption that the Times was issuing more of the promulgated Jay-Z hype these sites are designed to traffic in.  See below:
The above pro-Jay-Z oriented sites (“Jay-Z rocks Brooklyn arena he helped get built,” “Jay-Z Pays Homage to Notorious B.I.G. At First Barclays Center. . .,” “Jay-Z christens Barclays Center with Brooklyn Iove,” “Backstage With Jay-Z at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center,” “Beyoncé Says Hello, Brooklyn At Jay-Z’s Big Barclays Bash”) that come up when you search for the deleted Umar Jordan statements would, had the Times not expunged the reporting, linked to these paragraphs in the deleted reporting:
    Umar Jordan, a community organizer from Bedford Stuyvesant who also once supported the project, addressed himself to Jay-Z and told him that he should have made the arena “affordable for young children who grew up in the projects like you did.”
     “We’ve been robbed; Brooklyn’s been robbed,” he told the crowd. “I’ve seen people go to jail for less.”
(* Someone should look at the suspicious economics of these robotic sites, who finances them and what they are designed to do in churning out such headlines.)

While the Times chose to delete these most recent statements by Jordan opposing the project, the Times still makes available, as part of its undeleted records, statements Jordan made in 2006 in favor of the mega-project.  The Times prominently featured and relied upon those comments as evidence of a racial divide in the community.

It Was International News!

Looking for some of the deleted reporting what I found was Asian news sites (see the searchable scraps at the end of the arrangement below) that were recycling for a faraway foreign audience (with accompanying cuneiform characters) Times reporting you could now no longer find, headlining how: “Brooklyn Barclays Center grand opening with mixed . . . " (And then something inscrutably missing at the end to complete that thought: Who knows?)

The reporting of the community’s Friday protests wasn't the only reporting on the entire web, but in terms of the importance of readership in shaping public opinion and the Times Effect it was likely the most important.

Other Reporting of Weekend Protest Events On The Web

I thought my image of a ghost assembled from the scraps of disappeared reporting on the web should have a face and eyes so I used my image (originally available here) from Thursday night’s Candlelight Vigil, about 150 people led by local politicians and clergy:
A mega-bright Barclays “oculus” promotion for the opening of the Jay-Z 40-40 Club, the mega-wattage illuminating it paid for by the tax bills Jay-Z and the “Barclays” Center don’t pay . . .  and candles walked counterclockwise twice around the arena in community protest illuminating the alternative message for the evening.
Atlantic Yards Report coverage of that Thursday evening is available here: Friday, September 28, 2012, As 40/40 Club opens the night before arena debuts, a vigil and march draws 150 people, James, Montgomery.

The Times banished coverage concerned Friday protests, but aside from reading the Times reporting in Noticing New York, you can read more about Friday’s protests in Atlantic Yards Report, see: Friday, September 28, 2012, Under Barclays Center oculus, groups challenging Atlantic Yards call for reform, joined by Occupy and two who "drank Ratner's Kool-Aid" but changed their minds

Atlantic Yards Report video coverage of the Saturday protests is here: Sunday, September 30, 2012, Second night of Barclays Center operations: no traffic jams, lots of cops, Atlantic Avenue overrun post-event (with NYPD coordination/dismay), idling vehicles proliferate nearby.

Preserved Image From The Deleted Times Article

I found that I could also Google up an image that went along with the deleted Times reporting, but again when you clicked on the Google link it was not available (see below).

Atlantic Yards Report actually has preserved scrib document version of the banished Times article that shows it came complete with that photo of all the protesters.  I have cribbed from it to provided the image below.  Interestingly and ironically, it includes a “Switch” advertisement (see below) . . .  entirely by coincidence! 

Parting Word On Impartiality Of The Times

Arthur Ochs (Punch”) Sulzberger, former publisher of the Times and scion of the prominent publishing family that owns it, died Saturday.  Today the Times ran on its editorial page a signed piece by Andrew Rosenthal, "an appreciation," in which it lauded Mr. Sulzberger, and by extension, took the opportunity to revere the Time's own heritage. Mr. Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, expressed his certainty that the paper “was the best newspaper that ever existed.”  The point he offered was that the paper became great by not taking sides, that the Sulzberger family had bought it in1896 “determined to produce high-quality, dispassionate journalism at a time when newspapers were openly partisan.”

Is the paper still above taking sides unfairly?  That greatness looks as if it is also a ghostly thing of the past.

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