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June 24, 2008

Ratner's "20 court decisions" claim requires proof

Atlantic Yards Report

Yesterday, Forest City Ratner CEO Bruce Ratner, upon the U.S. Supreme Court's announcement it would take the Atlantic Yards eminent domain appeal, said, "The opponents have now lost 20 court decisions relating to Atlantic Yards...." That was repeated without skepticism in the press, such as in the New York Times's CityRoom blog [and today's paper].

Is that true? Well, maybe they've lost 20 decisions if we count decisions on specific motions. But then we'd have to count motions that opponents have won. And we'd have to count the cases opponents have won. NoLandGrab's scorecard, while probably flawed, strikes me as more accurate than Ratner's claim, especially since Ratner has provided no list.

Until the developer provides a list of the 20 decisions won, the press shouldn't be quoting the claim without rebuttal. The facts are verifiable.


NoLandGrab: Um, Norman Oder challenges journalists to practice "journalism of verification," while he concludes that our own analysis is "probably flawed" without providing any facts? Oder may be overworked, but that doesn't mean he is "probably" overworked.

It is disturbing, though, that reporters don't question something as simple as a statistic. At least it makes the pr professionals' job so much easier!

Posted by lumi at June 24, 2008 5:23 AM