Monday, September 17, 2012

In Times article on MTA advertising, a willingness to downplay the Barclays taint

The close of a New York Times article today, published online as New Territory for Ads, With a Moving Target:
Professor [Siva] Vaidhyanathan, for one, would like to see some more restraint. He bristled at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center name. “What happens if Barclays is convicted of massive fraud in the Libor scandal?” he asked. “What happens if Barclays goes out of business?”
Alternately, however, what if the bank and the new name show some staying power? After all, “Times Square” seems to have caught on.
That's a little pat, isn't it? First of all, the naming rights agreement is only for 20 years. Second, Vaidhyanathan, despite his criticism, was a little generous: Barclays doesn't need to be convicted to be tainted. It's already paid some $450 million in fines.

Noticing New York's comment

Michael D.D. White weighs in on his Noticing New York blog:
Barclays may, indeed, go out of business but professor Vaidhyanathan’s other “what if” is just a tad off: Barclays has already entered into a £290m ($450m) fine agreement with the United States and Great Britain for manipulating LIBOR rates. Its manipulation is already acknowledged by that agreement and the payment of the fine, but one purpose of the bank’s payment of that fine was to preclude criminal prosecution and conviction of the bank. Nevertheless, Barclays traders and possibly Barclays executives are likely to be criminally prosecuted, possibly convicted, separately.

Notwithstanding that this is the third Times article with a conceding mentioning that the publicly-financed parading of the “Barclays” name is obviously awkward, the sober observance of that fact in three articles is far outweighed by the many more celebratory articles the Times is running about the opening of the new “Barclays” center including the one featured on the front page of its special-edition Sunday Styles Magazine proclaiming Jay-Z in its front-cover caption to be “civic-minded” for promoting the arena, scandalous history and scandalous name “Barclays” name notwithstanding.
The Times has launched into its promotions without mention of its business relationship with the arena’s developer. Furthermore, the Times’ relentless promotion of the developer/subsidy collector’s Atlantic Yards from its unveiling forward probably tipped the balance for the materialization of a boondoggle that is costly to the public in so many ways.
I don't know if the Times tipped the balance. I do think that its celebration, such as in that enormous Sports section feature on Brooklyn Nets advertising and gear, is way over the top.

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