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On Charlie Rose, Ratner talks up arena: Conseco + glass/steel = "first building... in the last ten years that is really a contemporary new building"

Here's my full post on the interview.

Charlie Rose's interview with Bruce Ratner last night is not yet online, so for now I'll rely on some quotes from NetsDaily, which suggests that, over a half hour, nearly all the questions were about the Barclays Center arena.

(Remember, when asked recently by the Commercial Observer about the timetable for other buildings, Ratner snapped, "We’re here to talk about the arena.”)

Ratner called the arena "one of the most important civic buildings built in the city," a very generous use of the word civic ("of or relating to a citizen, a city, citizenship, or community affairs").

He called it "the most important arena built in the last half century in this country"--perhaps, though that "important arena" can't be separated from significant trade-offs, like its impact on a residential neighborhoods.

Like Conseco, but updated

Ratner asserted:
Basketball people will love it. First of all, it's built for basketball. It's much like inside the Conseco Center [in Indianapolis]. Very good sightlines. We studied 16 different arenas to get the best sightlines. It will be very tight, exciting, noisy. It's going to have all the latest technology and amenities. So when you're there, you're going to feel you're right in the action.
It's much like the Conseco Fieldhouse (now BankersLife Fieldhouse) because it was modeled on Conseco. Then, after that leaked design was slammed by New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff, Ratner hired SHoP to put a new skin on the building, thus earning some praise from the critic.

First 21st-century building?

Ratner said:
When you look at that arena, it's 21st century. It's beautifully designed. I think when people look back a couple of decades from now, I think they will say this is kind of the beginning of 21st century architecture in the city because it's very different looking, it's very futuristic looking. This is the first building built in the city since the year 2000 that has been built in the city in the last ten years that is really a contemporary new building. It doesn't look like a normal arena. It's not retro...There's sense of motion and action here.
If this is "the beginning of 21st century architecture in the city," he's forgotten what the starchitect-loving Ouroussoff said of the Frank Gehry-designed 8 Spruce Street (aka Beekman Tower), also built by Ratner: 
[it] seems to crystallize a particular moment in cultural history, in this case the turning point from the modern to the digital age.
Rose and his sponsors

Beyond being generally fawning to guests, Rose's skein of sponsors includes some supportive of or doing business with the arena.

As reported in a 9/28/09 article in Fortune, Why business loves Charlie Rose, Rose gets a free studio and office space at Bloomberg LP, initially in exchange for Bloomberg's potential access to Rose's guests.

Writer David A. Kaplan observed:
The fundraising produces a web of peculiar interconnections between Rose and the people he covers. The foundation of media mogul Barry Diller and fashion designer Diane von F├╝rstenberg is a longtime supporter of the program, most recently in the amount of $200,000. Both Diller and von F├╝rstenberg have been on the show. So has Rupert Murdoch, overlord of News Corp., which is a Charlie Rose underwriter.

..Most of the Charlie Rose underwriters make the relationship that much more mysterious by declining to offer any details of their donations.
By far the biggest underwriter is Coca-Cola (KOFortune 500), which gives just under $1 million annually, according to a source with knowledge of the business. (The company declines to comment.) Coke gets an understated 15-second commercial at the beginning and end of the broadcast -- just as other "major" underwriters do on PBS programs. Bloomberg LP also gets a special mention.

...Few suggest Rose has genuine conflicts of interest -- and none do so on the record, lest they risk an invitation to be on the show -- but his friends and others in media wonder if Charlie Rose, Journalist, sometimes becomes too much Charlie Rose Inc.
The largest sponsor by far is Coca-Cola. Guess what? Coca-Cola has a deal with the Barclays Center (though the press release is no longer on the site).

Kaplan pointed out that, when he had the Coke CEO on his show Rose disclosed Coke's underwriting:
And yet the "fullness" of the disclosure can be in the mind of the discloser. Should Rose, for instance, have disclosed that in 2002 he had served as emcee at the Coke shareholders meeting, at which he declared, "It is a privilege to be associated with the Coca-Cola family"? Rose says this is "nitpicking to a fault." "I wouldn't take their money if I didn't want to be associated with them," he says.


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