Saturday, July 02, 2011

More on the BAM-arena plans: "you have to be suspicious of anything Ratner might be telling you"

We're still waiting for some more coverage on the BAM-arena plans revealed in a spoon-fed New York Times exclusive--the New York Daily News and Brooklyn Paper have yet to weigh in, though the New York Post and many others ran an anodyne AP story.

But "[t]he bottom line is that you have to be suspicious of anything Ratner might be telling you," writes Noticing New York's Michael D. D. White in Cultural Circus? Mr. Ratner’s Attempt to Rechristen His Arena A “Cultural Center.”

He takes off from some previous reporting, including how I pointed out that incredible claim that the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music would together create a new cultural district.

He points out that, while "Ratner describes circuses as part of the commonplace perception people generally have of arenas from which he wants to move away,"  BAM's Karen Brooks Hopkins contradicts Ratner by suggesting performances can be "large nouvelle cirque kind of work."

The role of the Times

White writes:
Is it a problem that the New York Times fills its pages as the passive conduit for Ratner hype? In reviewing the documentary “Page One: Inside the New York Times” Noticing New York noted the film’s reporting of “The New York Times Effect,” which is to say that which the New York Times deigns to include in its pages “sets the agenda” virtually defining reality to a large extent for the rest of the press and that what gets reported in the Times thereafter almost invariably passes down the media food chain.
...By the time the story was boiled down to the short squibs broadcast by WNYC virtually any detectable warning of the PR bogusness of the whole affair had been eliminated.
Rather, he suggests, the Times should have analyzed the "press manipulation," including possible  “good news” timed to counter a potential construction workers' strike, or the arena operators' efforts to fill seats at the arena that hasn't come close to the 225 annual events once promised or the 200-plus currently promised.

One correction, one missing one

The online article states:
Correction: July 1, 2011

An article on Thursday about an alliance between the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Barclays Center, the arena being built in downtown Brooklyn, misstated the title for Joseph V. Melillo of the academy. He is its executive producer, not executive director.

Of course, the entire article needs a conceptual correction, but do note that the Times has agreed that the arena is being built in "downtown Brooklyn," not, as the Times once agreed in a mega-correction, as part of a project being built in Prospect Heights.

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