Sunday, April 25, 2004

Pre-packaged Thinking to Save You Time and Trouble

Sunday's Commercial Appeal Viewpoint section focuses on the Riverfront Development Corporation's plan for the riverfront Promenade. Let's take an overview before we dive deeper in the next post.

At the top of the page, lovely detailed drawings of the RDC plan with plenty of captions to guide you. Two guest columnists below to present the "two sides" to the issue: the RDC plan and everyone else who opposes it. I read the short summary of the package in the center of the page and was surprised to find almost the exact same wording used in the first paragraph of the guest column by the pro-RDC writer!
As the City Council prepares to take up a plan to revitalize part of Memphis's riverfront, the debate continues: Will the project serve the 'public purpose' intended for the property?
Memphians and the Riverfront Development Corporation are debating the future of the riverfront "promenade block." At the heart of their discussions is the issue of how the promenade property will serve the public purpose its original owners intended.
Puzzling. Some might say coincidental, some might say suspicious.

Next page, the CA's pro-RDC editorial. See the next post for some dissection of that.

Last page comes with another guest editorial from someone involved in evaluating the RDC plan, who also supports it. He's affiliated with a think-tank that represents the developers and builders and contractors in public planning, though this isn't made plain. Below his column is a large panoramic photo of the section of downtown being talked about. Good photo and a good thing to include, even if it does tend to make the blocks look as grimy and rundown as they are. Mud Island behind it looks even worse!

Below all this is a lot of text completing the two guest columns from the first page. There are also a small map of the downtown area under discussion and a graphic -- approximately one-quarter the size of the RDC plan graphic -- of the Friends for Our Riverfront proposal. A short bare-bones caption accompanies it.

Hmmm. Let's sum it up. Three columns: two aye, one nay. One editorial: aye. Two graphics: one four times the size of the other; the big pro-RDC graphic right up front, the other, smaller, one back in the back.

Do you get the feeling your thinking is being directed here?

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