Monday, December 08, 2008

Unreliable Sources: The IFC Media Project takes a look at AY (and AYR)

If you've searched the phrase "Atlantic Yards" recently on various search engines, you might have seen an advertisement for the IFC Media Project, a six-part series that promises to take "an in-depth look at the influences shaping today's media coverage including journalistic integrity, biases, corporate influence, profits, ratings, propaganda, agendas, obsessions and more.

And episode 4, to be broadcast on Tuesday at 8 pm ET, takes a look at Atlantic Yards. The show, which contains five elements under the rubric Unreliable Sources, devotes the longest segment, lasting 10 minutes, to AY, in which I will appear.

[Update: Actually I didn't. Here's my critique of the show, which featured a former Daily News reporter on camera saying she was pulled off covering Atlantic Yards after the developer complained.]

No screening copy has been made available, so I don't know what the episode will say.

The description:
Atlantic Yards
New York has three major daily papers all competing for readers, advertisers and power. This should lead to great coverage of major stories – but in the case of one story at least, it hasn't. Atlantic Yards is one of the biggest real estate developments in the city's history, yet the three papers have barely scratched the surface. In this piece we examine how government collusion with the developer and the developer's business ties to the paper have resulted in a half-told story that's failed to serve the public interest.


I was interviewed at length, but I know they interviewed a lot of other people.

Previous coverage

The big push for the series, both in advertising (below) and journalistic coverage, came in mid-November, when the show launched.

An 11/18/08 New York Times article, headlined Training a Gimlet Eye on the News Media and Finding Them Wanting , reported:
The cable news networks seldom speak about their infatuation with stories of white women gone missing or delve into their military analysts’ conflicts of interest. But a new series on the Independent Film Channel, “The IFC Media Project,” finds plenty to be introspective about.

The program, which begins on Tuesday, calls itself a “user’s guide to how the news gets made.” It examines a wide range of subjects, from coverage of the financial crisis to the narrative of the “war on drugs.”

“The point of the show is that American journalism and especially broadcast journalism right now seems to be spiraling downward,” said Gideon Yago, the host of the six half-hour installments.


...[Creator Meghan] O’Hara worked with the filmmaker Michael Moore on the documentaries “Bowling for Columbine,” “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Sicko,” and the series adopts an outraged tone reminiscent of those left-leaning films.


Here's O'Hara's blog on The Huffington Post.

There was no mention in that initial New York Times article about the planned segment on Atlantic Yards, nor have I found any other mention, except for blog posts generated after Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn picked up on the series announcement.

Mixed reviews

I could find only a few reviews of the early episodes. Kansas City Star TV critic Aaron Barnhart wrote:
I liked IFC’s show, but any resemblance to [Michael Moore's] “TV Nation” vanished after the opening credits. It was awfully earnest, which made its agenda transparent and at times a little too obvious.

In Variety, Brian Lowry wrote:
A self-described "user's guide to how the news gets made," "The IFC Media Project" is a laudably ambitious dissection of broadcast journalism foibles with an undeniable leftward tilt... Not everything here succeeds, but enough does to merit a look at this fast-paced half-hour.

...At its best, this exercise (let's call it "IMP" for short) brings a justifiably jaundiced eye to the news biz, while tackling some of journalism's nagging embarrassments and sacred cows.

...Based what's already available, though, "IMP" is just a bit too impish. Approaching its subject matter with greater sobriety would have been more sobering.

No comments:

Post a Comment