Monday, September 19, 2011

Xanadu pt 42: Misinformation Superhighway

One of the ways in which the media can mislead the public is to give the illusion of presenting something substantial while not actually doing so. This may be by intentional or not, but when your news story has the headline, "Triple Five executives discuss project, answer questions" and you only publish a few meatballs from the public, it leaves one to wonder how involved the public is allowed to be in a particular issue of importance.

Generally, when people skim through news articles they read the headline and the first paragraph or two. Anyone who read the entire article should notice that it includes a grand total of two softball questions from residents, preceded by talking points from T5 suits, proceeded by comments from local public officials (who's job it is to sell it to their constituents whatever the cost), and boiler plate about the Meadowlands Commission's transportation plans. It all leaves me to wonder what public input from the meeting wasn't published. Did they really only have time to ask questions of two people, or were they making sure that no one beyond the walls of the room where the meeting was held gets the impression that people are tired of having their world turned upside down by greedy developers.

The purpose of this event, it would seem, was to give the impression that they were inviting input from the public, but what the public thinks really doesn't matter. The purpose of this article seems to have been nothing more than an handy bit of PR for a developer who intend to press on with a project that's tanking in opinion polls, and they'll carry on regardless of what impact it may have on the local and state residents whose lives will be affected whether they like it or not.

I also love how they breached the issue of charging for parking. They wanted to assure the public that it will be "no more than $5." I guess that settles it. No followup necessary, even though it hints at one of two things: that they're trying to squeeze every last dime from people who simply want to go to a mall, or that they're anticipating cash flow problems when it comes to repaying the taxpayers who are going into debt on their behalf.

This project is underway, and will continue until it opens its doors or until, god willing, T5 goes broke. The only thing I can do about it is complain. And make a painting.

Part 42 (its almost done):

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