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May 3, 2011

Reading The Real Deal on Bruce Ratner: a "strange twist of fate," housing doubts, and big arena profits

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder continues his dissection of today's Real Deal puff piece on Bruce Ratner, and while it's all worth a read, this bit is particularly eye-opening.

While I don't take pleasure in criticizing a fellow reporter, I have to recount some of the back story. The writer, new to Atlantic Yards, contacted me in mid-April.

He was obviously typing sloppily: "Everybody talks about how Ratner entered development with a social conscious, which seems ironic, givcen all the opposition he has engendared with Atlantic Yards. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that."

So I sent him some things to read, notably a piece on Ratner's campaign contributions and links to an essay headlined Democracy Now? Ratner Plays Hardball When It Counts and excerpted significantly here.

I sent links to six more pieces, including The Mystery of Ridge Hill. His response: "ei yi yi. I just want some quotes not a dissertation."

He didn't bother much with what I'd written, obviously, nor did he contact me again.

It was a dismaying example of what press scholar Jay Rosen criticizes as “He said, she said” journalism, in which "No real attempt is made to assess clashing truth claims in the story" and "The means for assessment do exist, so it’s possible to exert a factual check on some of the claims, but for whatever reason the report declines to make use of them."


NoLandGrab: Ei yi yi is right. Ask the journalist who knows about Atlantic Yards than any other reporter, and then complain about TMI? That's how you end up with hard-hitting stories like Ratner's Refute.

And "Ratner entered development with a social conscious?" If that was ever true, it ceased being so a long, long time ago.

Posted by eric at May 3, 2011 6:07 PM