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November 26, 2006

The Times practices "rowback": Atlantic Yards (finally) is not a rezoning

Atlantic Yards Report

As I wrote in March, there's a big difference between the waterfront rezoning, a process that involves the City Council and extensive hearings, and the state process governing the Atlantic Yards project, under which the unelected Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) would override city zoning.

In correspondence, I tried fruitlessly to get this erroneous shorthand corrected. A Times editor evasively said that the details of the "bureaucratic processes" were not needed, and Times Public Editor Byron Calame, apparently unwilling to recognize a distinction between city and state oversight, endorsed the error as published.

The new correction-without-a-correction is a variant of "rowback," which former Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent described in his 3/14/04 column as "a way that a newspaper can cover its butt without admitting it was ever exposed."

This isn't the first example of Atlantic Yards rowback by the Times, given "downtown Brooklyn" and "on the railyards"; it probably won't be the last.

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Posted by amy at November 26, 2006 12:18 PM