Sunday, July 29, 2007

NY Times writes major Eminent Domain article, fails to mention Brooklyn

The New York Tims has written a lengthy article about eminent domain in the tri-state area, Now You Own It, Soon You Don’t?. The article fails to mention that our government utilized the power of eminent domain so that the New York Times could build its brand new headquarters. Forest City Ratner is their partner in that project. (The Times guaranteed a loan to the developer. Who says newspapers are a dying breed when they can help finance big developers? The Times certainly knows how to avoid the riff-raff.)

Of course, the most controversial project in New York City is the Atlantic Yards proposal, the brainchild of the Times' business partner, Forest City Ratner. This project calls for the use of eminent domain, somehow the Times failed to mention it, as pointed out in the Atlantic Yards Report.

The article fails to mention Brooklyn anywhere in the article, even though the Duffield Street homes are threatened with eminent domain for the purposed of economic development. Duffield Street is remarkable because the City wants to destroy a potentially important historic destination for ill-defined economic benefits.

Just last month, the Times wrote critically about these dubious economic benefits in A Juneteenth Riddle: Was Duffield Street a Stop on the Underground Railroad?, so it's not as if they don't think it's worth covering. They know about Duffield Street, and simply chose not to include it in today's article.

There has been a backlash against eminent domain abuse since the Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo decision. It would be hard for the Times not to write about the issue, but their omission of both the Atlantic Yards and Duffield Street raises questions about their objectivity.