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June 8, 2008

Times Public Editor says Op-Ed page must respect facts (but what about AY?)

Atlantic Yards Report

New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt last Sunday pointed out that the Times's op-ed page should pay attention to verifiable facts--a deficit, as I've pointed out, that applies to coverage of Atlantic Yards.

AYR cites some of these deficits, most of which involve where the site is actually located:

In that same Op-Ed, Manbeck described Forest City Ratner Companies' plan to build a sports arena surrounded by 17 imposing high-rise buildings on the Atlantic Avenue railyards.

Of course, the railyards would represent less than 40% of the project site, and the Times corrected similar errors in its news pages. Shipley wrote to me with a rather evasive explanation:
I'm afraid I disagree with you regarding the railyards -- for Mr. Manbeck to say that the project was on the railyards does not exclude the possibility that it could overflow them.

I asked how that could square with other corrections the Times wrote. He responded:
Real estate and Op-Ed are different departments. They do their corrections and we do ours. The phrase in question, as I explained earlier, seems to me to be a question of interpretation: for Mr. Manbeck to state that the project was on the railyards does not exclude the possibility that it could overflow them.

That true, but that's like saying that someone who is five feet tall could also be six feet tall.

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Posted by amy at June 8, 2008 5:20 PM