Another letter to the New York Times Public Editor: how does the newspaper handle clear untruths told by government officials?
Surely you've grappled with this question: how does the newspaper handle clear untruths told by government officials?
Let me give you an example--in which the Times was apprised of the lie, but still let it go into print.
On the CityRoom blog, on September 10, the Times reported on a new report on the Atlantic Yards arena from the NYC Independent Budget Office. The article was posted at 1:45 pm.
The Times quoted David Lombino, a spokesman for the NYC Economic Development Corporation, as saying that the Atlantic Yards site was "a site that is now an open railyard without any public benefit."
At 3:33 pm, I posted a comment, noting, in part: "The site’s not 'now an open railyard without any public benefit.' It’s a 22-acre site. The railyard is 8.5 acres."
However, in the September 11 print edition, on page A24, a somewhat truncated version of the CityRoom post, headlined "Report Sees Loss In Brooklyn Arena" ended with the above-mentioned quote from Lombino.
It's clearly untrue. And the Times had ample reason to know that.
Moreover, given the parent NYT Co's business relationship with Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner, the Times has a special obligation to be exacting in its coverage, and has not done so.
Your attention to this is appreciated.
Atlantic Yards Report