Sunday, September 30, 2012

An explanation of that "monopolist" quote in the Times, and a missed opportunity for comments on last Sunday's big Times feature

The Metropolitan section of today's New York Times contains a selection of Reader Comments, relating to Ginia Bellafonte's column last Sunday on economic disparities.

There are no comments on the lead story, In Brooklyn, Bracing for Hurricane Barclays, because comments weren't enabled. Surely there would have been many, given the wide range of issues raised in the article--and, despite significant omissions, no small criticism.

More often than not, based on a look back to June, the Times has not enabled comments for the lead article in the Metropolitan section. So it wouldn't be fair to say they turned off comments regarding this story. But it still seems like a lost opportunity.

The Times's odd substitution

Also, following up on my critique of the Times's dramatic shift in content and tone regarding the Atlantic Yards opposition in the round-up article on the Barclays Center debut, Michael D.D. White adds, in his Noticing New York blog:
Maybe I should be flattered that, near the end of this section the Times chose to quote me. I was the one who said, “You can’t negotiate with a monopolist!” It was not all I said. When Markowitz stopped for what he evidently intended to be a pro-arena photo-op and hobnob with the press I was among those who intervened and I shouted the following:
  • Take the monopoly away from Ratner!
  • Take the mega-monopoly away from Ratner!
  • You can’t negotiate with a monopolist!
  • The “Barclays” LIBOR Center Pays no taxes!
I repeated these lines in rotation more than once. I think I know Borough President Markowitz well enough to know that if he thought he could have provided a credible response he would have tried one. Instead, he fled fast into the arena, flustered and apparently shaken.
For more, including further explication of his rationale, see his post.

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