A Major Broadway Figure Comes out for the Stadium, And Surprise! Times Runs Another Story Against It
I’m getting arm-weary typing those four words “The New York Times” as I report yet another instance of journalistic bias by that newspaper, so look, just as we know how the X in 3 X 2 is pronounced, so it shall hereinafter be the NYX. Oh, that’s much easier.
In its relentless campaign to kill the Jets’ stadium project, the X on May 15 published a story with attitude – its usual one – by its assigned man Charles V. Bagli
Echoing the company line chanted by his talented elder brethren Dave Anderson and George Vecsey, he writes that veteran Broadway producer Martin Richards “has been recruited” by the New York Jets to win over public opinion for the stadium project.
Recruited? Do you think you walk into the office of a man of Martin Richards’s prominence and “recruit” him?
But look at the way Bagli writes the sentence. He doesn’t say this distinguished Broadway figure has come forward and expressed his enthusiasm for the project, as a reporter would normally write. He’s telling us that they went and got him.
The whole article is similarly slanted, a marvel of negative spinning.
You really ought to read it. (New York Times, May 15, 2004) He starts off by putting what we in the game call an “elegancy” in the lead, saying sarcastically that Martin Richards “finally has a starring role in an action drama that has sundered the theater world.” Wow, sundered! (For us overawed humble folk, it means he has riven it asunder.)
Yeah, right, Charles V., the whole world of Broadway is ripped apart by this. What nonsense. Do you think Broadway really gives a damn? As we’ve pointed out, this stadium will bring in tens of thousands of tourists who want to go to Broadway shows. What he is referring to is the fact that Gerry Schoenfeld, head of the huge theater-owning Shubert organization, opposes the project, for the usual vague, unconvincing reasons.
But the bottom line is that Richards is allied with the Nederlanders, who operate nine Broadway theaters as well as many theaters out of town, including the two they just picked up in China, and Jimmy Nederlander has been for the stadium from the start. Does it take a nuclear physicist to figure out that whatever Nederlander likes the Shuberts’ Schoenfeld will be against?
Bagli includes “union leaders” among those who oppose the project. Of course he was not at the Westsidestadium.org meeting at the Javits Center at which a Teamsters member named Joe Klecko spoke up for the project, or he would have seen the huge turnout of union workers who lined the walls all around the room to sign up in favor of the project.
Bagli drags in the fact that Richards’s late wife was a relative of Woody Johnson, the Jets owner, and tacks on Richards’s frank admission that he is not a football fan. And there he goes just that one step too far that trips him up, because this is exactly what makes Richards’s endorsement valid: He doesn’t care about football; he cares about the city!
And we’ve got another one for you, X, before we let you up. In an accurate statement, Bagli states that Mr. Richards produced the Tony Award Broadway musical “La Cage Aux Folles,”.
Thereby hangs a twice-told tale, twice-told because I’m telling our readers again, for those who didn’t see it the first time. I was backstage at the Tonys that year, and I encountered Arthur Laurents, the playwright.
He was, surprisingly, a sore winner. His play had won over “Sunday in the Park with George,” a Stephen Sondheim musical which I considered a clanking, pretentious bore.
“The Times had an organized campaign to get ‘Sunday in the Park’ the Tony,” Laurents raved, “because their critic loved it. Week after week, I couldn’t pick up that God damned paper without seeing another feature about that show!” And he was right. I had witnessed that campaign, and I delighted with him in its failure.
And just as the Times marched in lockstep in that organized campaign, they are doing so in this one.
And one more time, they won’t win.
©Copyright WestSideStadium.org, 2004