Thursday, December 08, 2005


The Voice questions the Times's coverage of Ferrer--and I add more questions

In an 12/6/05 article headlined "A Times Quiz: Gray Lady Scorns Mirror, Urges Battered Ferrer to Count Self-Inflicted Wounds," Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice begins:
The Times' Clyde Haberman berated Freddy Ferrer last week for failing to mention in a postmortem interview with El Diario that he was "his own worst enemy at times," far more responsible for his demise than the press and pollsters he was blaming. Haberman couldn't find "a smidgeon of self-reflection in the interview," so we thought we'd help Haberman's paper do a little of its own in this, the Times Election 2005 Quiz:

Among the charges:
2. How many blind quotes or paraphrases from "aides, associates, donors, Democrats," and other "people who have spoken to the Clintons" appeared in the same story, all questioning or denigrating the candidate Bill Clinton had just endorsed? 19.
3. How many on-the-record quotes raising questions about the authenticity of Clinton's endorsement appeared in the same story? Zero.
4. How many words of direct or indirect quotation from the former president made their way into this 1,503-word story about what Ferrer viewed as his biggest news day? 3, though the News and Post cited 86 and 91 Clinton words.

Barrett stopped at 16 questions, so I'll add some more, based on my previous reports on Ferrer and Atlantic Yards:
17. When Ferrer finally decided to oppose the Atlantic Yards plan for an arena plus 16 high rise buildings, and the Times, like some other papers, decided to make Al Sharpton's support the lead ("Ferrer is Chided Over Atlantic Yards Plan"), how much did the Times question the claim that the project could create "thousands of jobs for minority workers"? None.
18. If Ferrer was "playing politics," in Sharpton's accusation, did the Times point out that Sharpton was doing the same? No.
19. Though representatives of developer Forest City Ratner were present at the press conference and conferring with union supporters chanting opposition to Ferrer, to what extent did the Times mention any factor behind the protest other than "the Bloomberg forces"? None.
20. When the Times quoted a Republican candidate for City Council who yelled, "Don't sell out the minorities, Freddy," did the article mention that he likely would be trounced by incumbent Letitia James, also a minority, who vociferously opposes the project? No. (And he was.)
21. When the Times ended the article with this sentence, "Bruce Bender, an executive at Forest City Ratner, the development partner in building a new Midtown headquarters for the New York Times Company, accused Mr. Ferrer of misrepresenting the facts," did it ask Bender to specify those facts? No.
22. When the Times tried to factcheck the first mayoral debate, did it check Mayor Mike Bloomberg's claim that the project had received scrutiny from community boards and the press, and that it involves "a place that's been vacant for decades"? No.
23. When the Times covered the second debate, did it question Bloomberg's claim that the city was doing no more for this project than for any other projects, even though Atlantic Yards bypasses City Council scrutiny? No.

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