The subtitle of the Daily News editorial on the dispute between the Port Authority and the 9/11 Museum is a good example of journalistic malpractice: “Jersey side is blocking Ground Zero progress over money claim.” If that were true, why has Governor Cuomo taken such a firm stand — something they misrepresent? The piece dovetails nicely with the subtitle of the Burlingame opinion in the Wall Street Journal that charges: “The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey demands more money from a charitable foundation before it will finish construction.” Between them, they will succeed in misleading millions of readers. Ms. Burlingame can be forgiven for having an agenda, but the editors of one of New York’s leading papers should not be slanting the news.
The reason to call it extortion is the political guilt-trip that charges the Port Authority is not doing enough. The preliminary phase of the ongoing independent audit of the Port Authority that was released earlier this year reported that “the evolution of design and the challenges the Port Authority faced to deliver the Memorial by September 11, 2011” cost the agency (the public) $3 billion.
Back when the Memorial was slated to cost an outlandish $1 billion, Mayor Bloomberg took control and reduced the cost — which is now not only reapproaching the billion-dollar mark, but the annual cost to run the complex will be at least $60 million. Last September a bill was introduced into the House and Senate that would contribute $20 million annually, if there are private contributions to match it — as long as the Port Authority, with the approval of the Governors, deeds the 7.5 acres to the National Parks Service. What is the value of half a World Trade Center?
The notion that “showing the world that America isn’t beaten” and teaching future generations how the 9/11 attacks “changed the world” required $3 billion dollars to build the memorial complex and another $3 billion in Port Authority (public) money to deliver tihe waterfalls and landscaping by 9/11 — is myopic. That obligation could have been realized as well or better for a lot less money and the two Governors are exerting leadership by not asking the public to absorb what could actually be $300 million dollars or more — as if the public is a captive lender to the Memorial Board.
How can the Memorial Board be trusted when they have a long history of pursuing an agenda that is at odds with what the public wants — while insisting on what they seem to think is their right to an inexhaustible claim to the public purse. The Memorial Board fought 9/11 family members to bring the victims’ names to ground level; they have seized the unidentified remains for inclusion in a museum, and they are now failing to recognize how vitally important it is to return “The Sphere” to the heart of the memorial plaza. Why is the public subject to their wishes, when they are so unmoved by ours? Who is really being held hostage?
The fallacy of thinking that a museum at the site where the democratic process and the public’s prerogative were trashed will “show the world that America isn’t beaten” and teach how the 9/11 attacks “changed the world” is sadly deluded.
This article is not only a very informative account of what is being planned for the musueum, but also another example of journalism as apologist — full of conflicting opinions, but missing vital facts. There is no point in quoting 9/11 family members giving their differing opinions on what amounts to the commandeering of the unidentified remains, without mentioning that museum officials were asked to poll the entire role of family members as to what they wished to have done with the remains.
The inconvenient truth is that Memorial officials refused to establish and abide by what the majority of family members think is proper. That is news that people deserve to know — and that officials should be required to address. Until that happens, they are pitching propaganda, diverting attention from the crucial facts and manipulating information to suit their agenda.
Applying the dictum that all are equal, but some are more equal than others at Ground Zero is shameful — because the 9/11 attacks did not play favorites.
Has anyone yet come up with an explanation for why the public is subsidizing Silverstein’s presence at Ground Zero?
He may look, but will he see?