The New York Times and Atlantic Yards: A Pattern of Inadequate, Misleading, Mostly Uncritical Coverage. Still.
The Times sent a reporter who had never covered the project before. Never.
Their rationale, apparently, was to send the guy available in the Brooklyn bureau. (At least they didn't send an unpaid "citizen journalist.")
I tried to warn them. On the Times's CityRoom blog, at 5:07 pm, well before deadline, I posted a comment that included my FAQ, aimed, among other things, to set the record straight about claims regarding jobs and tax revenues.
It didn't help.
From the Times
Here's what the Times published:
“As the buildings rise on Atlantic Yards, the joblessness rate will fall here in Brooklyn,” declared Gov. David A. Paterson, noting Brooklyn’s 11.2 percent unemployment rate, higher than the state or national rates. “This project at Atlantic Yards will yield 16,000 union construction jobs and 5,500 permanent jobs right here on the site.”The job numbers, as I've explained, distort reality (they're job-years, not jobs), and rely on an unlikely full buildout of the project. And Paterson made even more outlandish claims, as I wrote this morning.
Mr. Paterson nodded to the echoes of the protest outside, saying: “We have recognized that there was strong opposition that was based on merit, that was based on equity, and that was real for this project, and we respect that. But the economic development opportunities are undeniable.”
The $4.9 billion project, developed by the firm Forest City Ratner, will drastically alter one of Brooklyn’s busiest intersections. In the blocks surrounding Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, 16 towers will provide as many as 6,430 apartments, with more than 2,250 of them set aside for low- and moderate-income renters, according to the developer.
The towers wouldn't provide the apartments; they'd include the apartments. The provision would rely, in large part, on scarce city and state housing subsidies.
Former Brooklyn Paper publisher Ed Weintrob today used the word "bullshit" to describe such numbers:
At last week’s groundbreaking for the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn (the planned future home for the New Jersey Nets), Gov. Paterson stated as fact long discredited job-creation figures: “This project at Atlantic Yards will yield 16,000 union construction jobs and 5,500 permanent jobs right here on the site.”It was a dismaying coda to a report I wrote in September 2005, a report that I thought was my one-shot contribution to the Atlantic Yards discussion: The New York Times and Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards: High Rises and Low Standards: A Pattern of Inadequate, Misleading, Mostly Uncritical Coverage.
The Times published Paterson’s quote — within quotation marks — along with other nonsensical projections that weren’t attributed to anyone, even though it knows many of them to be false. Now, because these numbers appeared in the Times, other media end up citing them as fact, without qualification.