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April 17, 2008

"Street Fight," Sharpe James, and some Newark echoes in Brooklyn

Atlantic Yards Report

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Even before the fraud conviction yesterday of former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, Marshall Curry's riveting 2005 documentary Street Fight, about Council Member Cory Booker's 2002 challenge to longtime mayoral incumbent James, was essential viewing--and with some implications for Atlantic Yards watchers, especially regarding the performance of the press.

Now that Booker was elected in 2006 and James convicted, Curry's non-neutral but essentially honest investigation reminds us of the inability of the mainstream press, too often wedded to "he said, she said" modes of reporting, to convey the sleaziness of the James administration.
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Asked in an interview posted on Alternet about how candidates get away with such bad behavior, Curry responded:

One thing that frustrated me so much in both the Newark election and the last presidential election is the mainstream media tries to cover elections in a way that they consider to be fair but that in fact is a distortion of reality. They try to say, "Well, George Bush said this, John Kerry said this" or "Cory Booker said this, Sharpe James said this." And they don't analyze whether one side is telling the truth. They just allow themselves to be mouthpieces for the two campaigns. And I think that they do that because that is what the audience assumes is fair. In fact, I think the media needs to be like a referee. A good referee doesn't call the same number of fouls on both sides; a good referee calls fouls when there are fouls.

If you thought that Atlantic Yards politics were hardball, check out the rest of the article: a camera is barred from a mayoral debate that gets physical, Reverend Al Sharpton struts his stuff and Newark, like Brooklyn, remains in the shadows of the largest media market in the world.

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Posted by lumi at April 17, 2008 5:17 AM