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July 25, 2011

An open letter to the New York Times's Public Editor: a false equivalence between Atlantic Yards promoters and "opponents," and the dubious claim of a $400 million arena naming rights deal

Atlantic Yards Report

Dear Mr. Arthur Brisbane,

I'm sure you're aware that some of us who read the Times closely take issue with the newspaper's coverage of the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. Indeed, last August, I posted a comment regarding Atlantic Yards in response to your debut column.

I don't say that the Times, by virtue of the parent company's partnership with Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner on the Times Tower, is in the developer's pocket. But I do think that business relationship obligates the Times to be exacting in its coverage, and the newspaper regularly falls short.

I write regarding the July 19 article headlined online as Atlantic Yards Arena Takes Shape, but Protests Carry On and in print as "An Arena Rises at Last, But Protests Carry On."

My critiques are collected here, but I want to make one general point, about a false equivalence between Atlantic Yards promoters and "opponents," and one specific one, regarding the Times's credulous acceptance of the claim that Barclays paid a record $400 million for naming rights, despite significant evidence to the contrary.

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Posted by eric at July 25, 2011 12:47 PM