Friday, October 27, 2006

Some credulousness, some skepticism: two AY stories in the Times

9/5/06, p. A1, Developer Said to Cut Size of Brooklyn Project (lead story!): Facing mounting criticism of its $4.2 billion Atlantic Yards project, the developer Forest City Ratner plans to reduce the size of the complex by 6 to 8 percent, eliminating hundreds of apartments from the largest development proposal in the city, according to government officials and executives working with the developer.

10/27/06, p. B4: Suit Against Atlantic Yards Challenges Eminent Domain: In a widely anticipated legal maneuver, opponents of the Atlantic Yards project filed suit in federal court yesterday, challenging the state’s authority to use its eminent-domain powers to acquire property and make way for the $4.2 billion development near Downtown Brooklyn.

I think it's legitimate to describe the lawsuit as a "widely anticipated legal maneuver." It would also have been equally legitimate to have described the scaleback floated last month as a tactic or a maneuver.

The fifth paragraph of the 9/5/06 article stated: But both supporters and critics have expected Forest City to reduce the size and density of Atlantic Yards, which has been the focus of a series of raucous, standing-room-only public hearings, most recently on Aug. 24.

But that wasn't in the lead, or the headline. And nowhere in the front-page article was the point made that the scaleback would reduce the size of the project back to the square footage originally announced.

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