Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Times gives lavish space to puff piece on new Nets announcer, ignores "sordid history" (by the way, he says cigars are healthier than cigarettes)

Number of paragraphs about Atlantic Yards in front-page New York Times article yesterday about EB-5 projects that stretch the rules: 1.

Number of paragraphs in Sports section article today about new Nets announcer David Diamante: 21.

A bit of a puff piece

The Times article, headlined New Nets Announcer Shows Flair and Hair, lets him describe his various jobs and hobbies--motorcyclist, DJ, surfer, boxing announcer. He's got long dreadlocks:
Diamante said he stopped cutting his hair in 1988, when he was a senior in high school.
“There was a change in my life, and it felt right, and I just stopped cutting it,” he said, the dreadlocks swept behind him as he smoked. (He ties them up for announcing events.) “Will I cut it tomorrow? Maybe. Will I cut it later today? Maybe. Probably not. I try to go day by day and not to future-trip too much.”
...Throughout his 20s and 30s, Diamante’s careers and hobbies included spinning records in clubs, following boxing and riding motorcycles. Recognizing that the career of a fighter can be a short one, he moved into announcing.
"A sordid history"

Here's what the Times left out about those changes, according to a SecondsOut.com profile (circa 2009) by Thomas Hauser:
“But I’ve been through some dark times,” [Diamante] continues. “It’s a sordid history. I’ve done crazy things and seen worse. I’ve been in jail for drug and drinking-related stuff. I’ve seen people stabbed in the heart and get their heads bashed open with baseball bats. One time, I saw a guy get shot point blank in the head.”
..."Growing up, I had a lot of family issues; particularly with my dad. I did a lot of drugs from sixth grade on. I was self-medicating, but you don’t have the perspective to understand things like that when you’re young. For a while, it was a blast. Then things got nasty. I was running with a real bad group of guys that you could have called a gang. I did a lot of fighting and was suspended from school lots of times. There was this rage inside me.”
Diamante went into rehab when he was 20 and has been clean since he was 21. Among the gigs unmentioned in the Times: bouncer and DJ at strip clubs, notably at Scores East in New York.

It's admirable that he's triumphed over his past. But shouldn't long profiles mention that?

Diamante's Cigar Lounge, in Fort Greene

By the way, the Times reported, quoting Diamante:
Not having a cigar lounge in Brooklyn was “a travesty,” he said.
Unmentioned: Patch reported 1/7/11, that Smokers Haven Irks Neighbors:
Soon, neighbors began complaining about the smoke emanating from the lounge, saying the heavy odor of cigar smoke lingered in their nearby apartment around the clock. An article published in the Daily News quoted neighbors going so far as to say they were going to break their lease to get away from the lounge as soon as possible.
The reality-based community

Patch reported:
"I think it's unfortunate that we're living in an anti-tobacco time right now, and it's really unfortunate that cigars have been lumped in with cigarettes."
Diamante insisted that cigars are healthier than cigarettes, though the United States National Institute of Health says cigars contain much more cancer-causing substances and higher toxins than cigarettes.
Surely Nets CEO Brett Yormark saw a kindred spirit.

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