April 4, 2008

Watching the Watchers - CityPaper Takes WaPo to Task

In the Loose Lips section of this week's Washington CityPaper (D.C.'s alternative rag) the column points out that the 20 WaPo reporters sent to cover the opening of the new Nationals Stadium repeatedly (15 times by their count) cited the cost to taxpayers as $611M. As the CityPaper correctly points out, $611M is the cap approved by the D.C. City Council. The actual cost to the city (and thus taxpayers) has risen above and beyond that figure, and is expected to settle in the high $600Ms. As Loose Lips is quick to note, the Post should have used themselves as the source for the actual cost to the city.

Image taken from Aardvark.net. See this post on the Nats getting a stadium while the D.C. United (who are willing to pay $150M of the cost) suffer. Hmm, baseball is popular with white people and lobbyists. Soccer is popular with kids and hispanics. What could possibly explain the disparate treatment?

I'm not saying the District won't some day recoup those costs and more, but it does seem like this is yet another example of the WaPo painting a rosier picture than actually exists. This seems to be a continuing offshoot of their support of now-Mayor Adrian Fenty over ballparker poo-pooer Linda Cropp. It's certainly no crime to prefer Fenty to Cropp, but as the premiere newspaper in D.C. (especially for Liberal issues), the Post owes its readers more.

6 Responses:

Jeremy said...

Actually, J-Red, for as many problems as I have with the Post, I don't think that they were trying to pull one over on readers with this. In fact, most Nats supporters will tell you that one of our biggest beefs with the Post has been their constant criticism of the team and constant Chicken Little antics about how the stadium wasn't going to be built on time, how Metro was going to fail miserably, etc. So if anything, I'm surprised to read something in the Post that paints things in a rosier light than it actually is. The Post would be the last entity on the face of the Earth to do this.

Dean said...

The tax payers here in San Diego were fed the same happy-talk wrt Petco Park. I declined going downtown last night for dinner precisely because there was a home game against the Dodgers. No parking and drunk Dodger fans. No thanks.

Also, all the high-rise condos and hotels that have sprung up (the land under which, Padre owner John Moores owns, btw) around the ball park have ruined any of that old-school Wrigleyville or Fenway charm that it may have had when it was first built.

J-Red said...

Petco does have some nice character though. It looks good on TV. I don't know how the experience actually is.

Dean said...

J, the place shows up nicely in HD but in person, it lacks character and charm. San Diego: the City that almost gets it right.

Josh said...

Nats - 81 home games in a season

DC United - 17 home games in a season

There's a legitimate reason for the difference in treatment. If any sport deserves some public funding for its stadium, it's baseball, where there's a home game more than 1/4 of the year.

If any sport should have purely private financing for its stadium, it's football.

J-Red said...

Nats = Public financing

D.C. United = Far cheaper and smaller stadium and financing in place to pay over 60% of costs. Plus, it's a nod to the hispanic community that they are welcome. Plus, smallish soccer stadium could double for Georgetown's upstart football and lacrosse programs...and the AAA baseball team Washington will need in ten years or so.

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