Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Prokhorov's modern blueprint: "brilliant, premeditated publicity move[s]" get saluted, without analysis

A New York Observer reporter gives a thumbs-up to the Mikhail Prokhorov show. From a piece headlined For 48 Hours, an Oligarch Turns on the Charm:
Mr. Prokhorov was in town for 48 hours that, if spent properly and efficiently, would warm the press and thereby the public to the mysterious Russian who just a week prior to his visit was approved as the principal owner of the Brooklyn-bound New Jersey Nets.

...During the press conference, [p.r. consultant] Ms. [Ellen] Pinchuk pursed her lips and picked at her fingers each time her client was asked tough questions: his business dealings in Zimbabwe; the team's unfortunate record (12-70); will it continue to bleed money ($42.2 million in the recent fiscal year)? By the end, her water glass was empty. Mr. Prokhorov, however, performed expertly, answering each question with a joke and giving the sort of show that kept the reporters busy taking notes.

Next came an unexpected afternoon meeting with a 28-year-old Brooklyn resident named Vinnie Rotondaro. Vinnie had just graduated from Columbia J-school, with five bylines at a blog called the Brooklyn Ink.

...It was, in other words, another brilliant, premeditated publicity move that neatly tied up Mr. Prokhorov's two-day charm offensive.
My comment:
Um, Prokhorov's "brilliant, premeditated publicity move[s]" would not have succeeded had the press considered that the money he can spend on the team and arena (and p.r.) is money he didn't have to spend on the arena, thanks to significant public subsidies, tax-exempt bonds, and the giveaway of arena naming rights.

More here.
Echoes from 2005

The episode--in which the press pronounces on public relations efforts instead of analyzing the issues at hand--recalls the New York Times's infamous "modern blueprint" article from 10/14/05, headlined To Build Arena in Brooklyn, Developer First Builds Bridges:
But from whatever viewpoint, the project's seemingly inexorable movement suggests that Mr. Ratner is creating a new and finely detailed modern blueprint for how to nourish - and then harvest - public and community backing for a hugely ambitious development that is expected to provide more than nine million square feet of apartments, offices, stores and hotel rooms, as well as the arena, in the middle of a populous, cantankerous and often sharply divided city.

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