Dignity is not something tabloid newspapers want to be known for, in the traditional sense of the word “dignity,” and no one would accuse the New York Post of caring about integrity in the usual meaning of that word, either. Still, even a crude and dishonest tabloid ought to have a certain amount of spirit. So even on the Post‘s own terms, it was sad to see the story it published yesterday about Amazon’s search for New York office space.
The facts were great tabloid facts: the world’s richest company, having stormed away from a $3.2 billion municipal handout for putting new offices in Long Island City in Queens because local politicians were trying to negotiate a few concessions from it in return, was now skulking back to try to lease something anyway, in Manhattan, because it needed to be in New York City.
But here was how the Post decided to relate that news:
Amazon’s renewed focus on Manhattan so soon after dropping its plans for Queens is an apparent rebuke to the politicians who helped scuttle Amazon’s plans to build a 4 million-square-foot campus in LIC, including US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, sources said.
Queens residents overwhelmingly supported plans for 25,000 new jobs with an average wage of $150,000, despite protests from Ocasio-Cortez and other politicians over $3.2 billion in capital grants and tax incentives, polls have shown.
Which of the Post‘s “sources said” it was an “apparent rebuke” that Amazon was quietly eating crow, garnished with $3.2 billion in lost incentives? Not sources who cared about either the facts or the entertainment value. Local politicians called the company’s bluff and won. There was no way to spin that as a triumph for Amazon.
Nevertheless, the Post brought out various ghouls to try to do just that:
One reason is that every job that Amazon brought to the area would have had a multiplier effect on five or more other local jobs, including at local coffee shops, dry cleaners and food franchises, said Alfredo Ortiz, president & CEO of the Job Creators Network.
Manhattan, by contrast, will barely register the growth, experts said.
“Frankly, that kind of activity gets lost in Manhattan,” said Kathryn Wylde, CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City.
This line of argument was completely stupid; if the multiplier theory has any truth to it at all, there’s no reason for the dry cleaners and baristas who serve Manhattan not to collect just as much money as they would have in Queens. In neither case would the working-class beneficiaries—championed by a lobbying outfit with disgraced would-be Secretary of Labor Andrew Puzder on the board—be living where their jobs were, whether in Manhattan or in a pre-gentrified and then Amazon-inflated Long Island City.
But the Post wasn’t dealing in news or facts. It was doing propaganda, dully and dutifully. Of all the available villains, it was forcing itself to target Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, because that was who Rupert Murdoch has decided to cast as the enemy of the Post‘s readers and Fox News’ viewers. The only sincere thing about it was that the Post is genuinely afraid of Ocasio. Unlike Murdoch, she still knows how to tell a story.