Boldly presenting further evidence of its organized campaign to crush New Yorkers' dreams of a great new stadium on Manhattan's West Side, the New York Times on April 9 published a new attack-by-subtly-dissing the project by one Charles V. Bagli. (Guggenheim Interest in Stadium, April 8, 2004)
In case you weren't familiar with the art of subtly dissing, it involves the tone in which a story is written. As you read of the glowing projections of the stadium project's champions, you can hear the sardonic “Yeah, right,” of the reporter between the lines
Writing about the potentially exciting prospect that the Guggenheim Museum may build a branch across the street from the stadium, Charles V. starts off by telling us the Bloomberg administration and the Jets have held “all manner of news conferences and media stunts” (note the patronizing tone?) to promote “a sense of momentum” for their proposal. He's saying that's not real mo, which every football fan understands, but a phony “sense” of momentum created by press agent puffery.
He then comically argues that the Guggenheim talk “serves as a convenient counter-weight to complaints by some local residents that the stadium will repel development.”
Excuse me? What development was that? A badly needed new signal system for the railroad yards, perhaps? (...when you get there, there isn't any there there")
There is not, nor has there been, any plan for development of that sorry and long-forgotten area that this enterprise would “repel.”
Mustering his strongest argument, Bagli quotes "a Quinnipiac College poll" that reported it had found 60 percent of New Yorkers opposed to the stadium. Oh, well, there's certainly an irrefutable authority.
With due respect to reputable institution, Quinninpiac sounds like that college where Groucho played Professor Wagstaff in the Marx Brothers' 1932 movie Horse Feathers. But if an editor barks, "Get me a poll result that says New Yorkers are against it!" and Gallup has expressed no interest in the subject, it comes to pass that the voice of Quinnipiac is heard from the Times. (Editor's note: Afraid that the Wise Old Egg had wandered out onto thin ice here, we decided to check Quinnipiac's performance in the 2001 Mayoral election. In the last week of October, 2001, Quinnipiac had the race Mark Green over Michael Bloomberg, as Green led Bloomberg 51 percent to 35. We were unable to reach Mayor Green yesterday for comment.)
Reporter Bagli picks on the – OK, maybe a bit hyperbolic – statement by a City Planning official that cultural institutions would be “clamoring” to be part of the project, but when he says that no theater group had been heard from, does he know how many little theater companies are working in hole-in-the-wall spaces, desperately looking for a proper theater – look how long the Roundabout, no small company, looked for a permanent home – does he think that a dozen of those companies wouldn't leap at the chance to move into such a modern facility?
But the rank-and-filer Bagli follows the distinguished columnist Dave Anderson, toward whom we were churlish in this space last week over his “It was a bad omen” column, in echoing the company line and writing about it in a cynical tone. (All the News that Fits, March 27, 2004)
Why this towering skepticism from the ivory tower of journalism? Why do they insist on looking upon what could prove a boon to the city and seeing a boondoggle?
You want to talk boondoggles, consider the New York World's Fair of 1964-'65. Nobody actually needs a World's Fair, and certainly nobody is passionate to have one created the way Jets fans are about their Manhattan stadium. But developers, builders and assorted wheeler-dealers would profit gigantically from such an undertaking – sorry, I've forgotten the name of the man who was the main wheeler of deals – and they put across the idea.
That was an enterprise that should have been looked at askance, and the Times undoubtedly did. This is in no way that kind of a deal, and does not deserve that kind of sour scrutiny. Not when the team's owner is putting up eight hundred million dollars toward it.
– Tom McMorrow, Sr
(Our Own Wise Old Egg)
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