May 10, 2006
Covering Ratner's brochure: why not treat it like campaign advertising?
Atlantic Yards Report makes the case that the three brochures that Forest City Ratner has sent to area residents constitute a political campaign. Heck, they even hired Knickerbocker SKD, an advertising/direct-mail firm that specializes in political campaigns.
In political campaigns, however, newspapers have learned they must evaluate political advertising--to not rely on critics or political opponents but to use basic journalistic practices and check claims against the record. Other press outlets do it too and the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania offers the Annenberg Political Fact Check for regular nonpartisan analysis.
Last summer, for example, the Times twice analyzed ads produced by KnickerbockerSKD for Morganthau's campaign.
Forest City Ratner's campaign deserves no less scrutiny. Outside the blogosphere, the Brooklyn Papers' Kuntzman has been the only journalist to take a look.
NoLandGrab: Besides the issue brought up by Atlantic Yards Report, two questions come to mind:
1. If these two local Forest City Ratner project proposals are such great ideas, then why do they need a political-style PR campaign?
2. If Forest City Ratner has millions of dollars to spend on PR, then why do their projects require government subsidies above those that are "as of right?"
Posted by lumi at May 10, 2006 4:48 PM