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April 6, 2012 By Steven Greer, MD
Within the past week, two public meetings have been held that discuss the fate of The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA). The Town Hall meeting exposed many embarrassing problems for the BPCA, such as the delayed opening of the Asphalt Green complex, the fact that the PEP are not allowed to issue tickets to speeding electric scooters used on the sidewalks by deliverymen, and the calls for changes in leadership structure at the BPCA to have actual residents of Battery Park City sit on the board. A few days later at the monthly BPC section of the Community Board 1, State Senator Daniel Squadron appeared to discuss his proposals to overhaul the BPCA.
BatteryPark.TV extensively covered both events with video footage. However, The Battery Park Broadsheet did not post any reports despite having the founder and senior editor of the site, Robert Simko, present at each meeting with his camera. Instead, the Battery Park Broadsheet has featured articles on a variety of mundane local topics, such as sailing classes, a Pace University study on traffic flow, and the funding of a subway station on Fulton Street.
Is the Broadsheet, run by founder Robert Simko, incompetent, or has this omission of coverage of important stories critical to the senior leadership of the BPCA been an intentional act of journalistic bias? Is the Broadsheet simply an extension of the BPCA?
BatteryPark.TV asked The Broadsheet’s owner and senior editor, Robert Simko, why his “newspaper” has not covered the stories in question. He replied, “I am a small paper in a big downtown neighborhood with many stories to cover and can’t always give the resources necessary to properly cover any one story…to be honest, we are not friends (believe me!) with the BPCA!”
BatteryPark.TV has learned that several stories related to the BPCA which were first reported in The Broadsheet were the result of the BPCA staff proactively reaching out to freelance reporters for the Broadsheet. In stark contrast, BatteryPark.TV cannot have a single email or call returned by anyone at the BPCA, likely as a result of our critical reporting.
The Broadsheet relies heavily on the cooperation and assistance of the BPCA for the content in the printed and electronic versions. Many of the daily activities in the park and other postings come from the Parks Conservancy of the BPCA. In addition, the BPCA has provided revenue for The Broadsheet on the form of advertisements.
BatteryPark.TV currently does not accept advertising and is supported by grants and philanthropy, despite receiving unsolicited requests on a routine basis from entities wishing to advertise. BP.TV forwards advertising inquiries to The Broadsheet. Moreover, BatteryPark.TV has never received any government handouts from entities like the Downtown Alliance, LMDC, or the BPCA. As a result, BP.TV has a unique freedom of bias to cover the corruption in local politics and bureaucracies like no other news source that has ever existed in Battery Park City.
The Broadsheet provides many useful services to the community. However, loyal readers of The Broadsheet should be aware of the bias of omission in coverage of the BPCA and demand better from Mr. Simko.