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October 31, 2004

WaPo begins effort to derail baseball stadium

In a previous post, I noted that when the Post smells blood, it moves in for the kill. Today, the Post had an article in the Metro section and a large piece in the Style section giving voice to the stadium opponents.

The Metro section article, "Baseball Debate Plays On/Mayor's Confidence Unshaken in Face of Opposition," sets the tone with its opening paragraph:

Opponents of a plan to build a baseball stadium with public funds have viewed their cause as a long shot. But recent developments have ignited some optimism.
The idea that it's a long shot is repeated, but so is the cause for optimism.

The Style section piece, "No Joy in Stadiumville/An Unbuilt Ballpark Casts Its Shadow on Southeast," is a little funkier. It starts by describing the guy who's thought of as the mayor of the area that the stadium is planned for:

Robert Siegel, entrepreneur, works out of a windowless office in a gay porn shop and "adult theater." In this electronics-jammed bunker he has half a dozen closed-circuit TV screens that monitor the cashier's booth, the hallway, the back rooms and the shop's exterior. One of his cameras is mounted on a nearby building and serves as his eye on O Street SE, pivoting by remote control from inside the bunker.

Siegel is something like the mayor of this part of town. When he answers the phone, he says, "Commissioner Siegel," in honor of his status on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission. He has been called a land baron in the media, but so far has resisted the urge to call himself Baron Siegel. He owns 11 properties, several of which house gay nightclubs.
We learn there's actually a lot of exciting stuff in the neighborhood, not the forlorn corner of town it's made out to be. Hey, whatever turns you on, I guess.

But the tone of the coverage is clearly sympathetic with the opponents. And as I've said many times, I can't say that the proposed cost is particularly justified. I just enjoy watching this kabuki theater, in which the Post pretends to be a neutral observer but steers the confrontation in the direction of its choice.

My last post on the stadium is here, with links to earlier posts.