Friday, May 30, 2008

Prostitution of our local press

Trying to excuse the community board from any responsibility for Chinatown's late involvement in the rezoning, CB3 Chair David McWater said he spent a $100,000 grant on outreach to Chinatown ("Chinatown rezoning call keeps resounding at C.B. 3" The Villager, May 7).

The article doesn't mention that none of this money was spent on rezoning information. I obtained the documents under the Freedom of Information Law.

The Villager editorial that week claims, as has CB chair David McWater, that Chinatown is difficult to rezone because it lies in three districts and that's why the CB didn't include Chinatown in this plan.

But the portion in CB2 is already protected by the Little Italy Special District. So Chinatown can be successfully zoned piecemeal. The current plan even includes a few blocks of it. So the division among three districts can't be the reason that the rest of Chinatown was left out.

The Villager editorial claims, as has CB chair David McWater, that every rezoning must have a vulnerable periphery. That's factually inaccurate: the state courts, projects and Little Italy Special District surrounding Chinatown are not vulnerable to overdevelopment.

I guess CB Chair David McWater is writing the Villager's editorials now. If the Villager were an independent press, it would have fact-checked McWater's claims before printing them as fact. This is not the first time it has happened.

When did our media become the propaganda arm of government? Doesn't free press mean freedom from government intervention so that the press can criticize government? Government propagandizes its own policies itself, why do we need a press that licks its spittle?

" Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary, said the national news media neglected their watchdog role in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, calling reporters "complicit enablers" of the Bush administration's push for war."

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