Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Flack Buried the News Somewhere

This is the news; the bracketed info shows where the fact first appeared in today's front page story.

Ramar Group [graf 6], home-based in an unreported city, sent its preliminary proposal for a 4,000-acre housing development in DeSoto County [graf 2] to Central Florida Regional Planning Council [graf 6] Monday. The action begins a review process that [the developers said] will probably take between two and three years [graf 17]. The Ramar proposal will require amending the local comprehensive land plan [graf 15] which has designated the boondocks [yes, he wrote that in graf 2] of eastern DeSoto County for an unreported other use.The plan must undergo evaluation by several state agencies [graf 12], including Swiftmud [first reference and nickname used to vilify Southwest Florida Water Management District].
The published lead: Government wheels started turning Monday for a proposed local development that could change DeSoto, and experts say, Florida’s Heartland; however, for the time being the Villages of Valencia Lakes is just a dream with a million-dollar price tag.

Skipping to the unattributed 5th graf, with any substantial news still held in abeyance, our journalist cranks up his editorial comments and mind-reading skills.

Don’t think in terms of a new neighborhood – think in terms of the pyramids of Giza, the Colosseum, Machu Pichu. Enterprising developers hope Valencia Lakes will be a landmark community – not only because of its size, which is massive enough to include two square miles of open space, but because they hope it will serve as an example for other developers in the area and set the bar for communities to come.*

Please. No, the developers don't care to "serve as an example." They hope to sell a lot of houses and make a lot of money. Worse, this reporter’s interjection of the last National Geographic special he watched turns him into a flack for the man, not a skeptical watchdog in the community.

As Flack for the Man, he has no motivation to remind readers of four failed, grass-growing-in-the-roadways developments closer to home. As Flack for the Man, he has no motivation to tell readers whose land was bought for the development. As Flack for the Man he has no reason to describe any of the development's potential regional impacts (which gives the preliminary proposal its official name), or how the developer plans to finance the operation. Who are the backers and partners? Have they done other developments of this size? Even the crucial "why" is missing from the story. The Flack for the Man gives the Man's vague idea in the third-from-last graf that inland communities are more affordable than coastal developments -- but why DeSoto? Why dig lakes on Four Mile Grade? Does the developer expect there will be jobs for 30,000 households 40 miles from, well, nowhere?

And what's with this "experts" thing? The only people quoted are the developer, a regional planning council member, and a county administrator. More Flacking for the Man/Men.

*Here's the "example" and the "bar" set by the examples:

The development will be an imperial monument, built with blood money by dictator-developers to glorify their social status and perpetuate power, reflected by accommodations arranged according to a rigidly structured social-hierarchy, with slaves at the bottom.

After all, the Pyramids at Giza are tombs built by slaves for Egyptian pharaohs. The Colosseum is a symbol of Imperial Rome paid for largely by Vespasian's spoils following his victory over the Jews in 70 A.D. Some 9,000 animals were killed in its inauguration; it is perhaps most famously the place where Christians were supposed to have been fed to lions, although the historical accuracy of this widely held notion is debated. Seating arrangements for spectators "reflected the rigidly stratified nature of Roman society," Encyclopedia Britannica says. And Peru's Machu Piccu is a mountain top Imperial-era (15th Century in the Western Calendar) Incan fortress and prison erected by a culture that practiced human sacrifice.

No comments:

Post a Comment