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March 26, 2009

Paging Lillian Hellman: on WFAN, Nets' Yormark does damage control on Gehry, reaching new depths of suspicious spin

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder dissects Brett Yormark's performance on WFAN yesterday.

New Jersey Nets CEO Brett Yormark probably isn’t a Lillian Hellman fan, but he really should become familiar with Mary McCarthy’s infamous dis of the author: "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'."

Yormark isn't yet in Hellman territory, but he's getting closer. And the only reason he gets away with it is that reporters, like Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts of WFAN yesterday, fail to challenge him.

The tally

Yormark, hauled out to do damage control after architect Frank Gehry said he didn’t think Atlantic Yards would happen, yesterday reached new depths of suspicious spin, declaring that Gehry was “just venting,” promising that the Brooklyn arena would open in 2011, asserting new job numbers for the project, pronouncing New Jersey “just terrific for us,” and claiming that Atlantic Yards would bring things that the “country needs right now.”

And he even blamed the Atlantic Yards opposition on “one individual out there,” presumably Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s Daniel Goldstein, somehow ignoring the thousands of people who have donated money, gone to rallies, and signed petitions.

Brutally weird

Let me respond quickly to those Yormarkisms.

  • Gehry has reason for his pessimism; he’s laid off his Atlantic Yards staff.
  • Yormark’s confident predictions of arena openings in 2010 and 2011 have fallen by the wayside. (Here’s the audio.)
  • Yormark apparently hasn’t checked the job figures on the AY web site.
  • If New Jersey were so terrific, the team of course would stay.
  • While the country needs jobs, the affordable housing Yormark claims Atlantic Yards would bring would not come “now,” nor, perhaps, for a very long while.
  • Of course Gehry must be touted; he's key to the naming rights deal.

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NoLandGrab: Oder is kind in calling Benigno and Roberts "reporters." Sports-talk hosts barely qualify in that regard. And he lets the station slide on its business relationship with the Nets — WFAN is the team's official radio broadcaster.

Posted by eric at March 26, 2009 8:27 AM