Mar 16, 2014

Another Morning Call Infomercial

For the second weekend in a row, The Morning Call has featured an advertisement posing as news. This week's infomercial heralds that there is a new attitude about the downtown revival. They commissioned Muhlenberg's Chris Borick to conduct another one of his polls, showing that 10% more people feel more positive about Allentown. It just goes to show you what you can do with a $billion dollars of state taxes. I won't discuss the reporters; If their employer is satisfied with two seasoned reporters wasting a week or more on these puff pieces, all the power to them. I do have a call in to Chris Borick, wondering how a political science professor can justify his participation in these soft news stories. His reply, if and when received, will appear as an update on this post. Should there be a firewall between news and advertising? Should the Morning Call disclose that they were added to NIZ, even though their property is an arbitrary tangent to the district? Why are they treating the success of the arena as a fait accompli?

UPDATE:  To his credit, Borick returned my call, even after reading this post and the comments.  He considers the poll he conducted as part of an on going quality of life survey that he conducts in the Lehigh Valley, in conjunction with the paper.  He feels that this point in time will be a valid benchmark to compare with public opinion after the arena is up and running.  I explained my objection to the article, especially referring to the previous activity on the 700 block as a dead zone.  In reality there was  a lot of business done on that block,  even if it involved a low income clientele. It was one of the most successful Family Dollar stores in the country.  Although he considers himself an optimist about the changes in center city and the NIZ, he finds the questions raised by this blog legitimate.


Anonymous said...

The addition of the Morning Call footprint into the NIZ was a bit of "hush money," in my mind. That will come in handy when it's time for the Call to cease publication and go all digital. They'll sell the building to someone else who can then use taxpayer funds for whatever upgrades are required. A huge carrot to hold out there.

From what I read, the Call is just 1-2 years from going out of print. It can then move its business completely into a few floors of a Butz or Reilly building.

michael molovinsky said...

@5:02, for less informed readers, there are two geometric portions of the NIZ, the center city arena area and the riverfront. in addition, there are two add ons, the morning call property and sacred heart hospital. sacred heart has been providing community care in a poverty district for decades, and deserves whatever assistance it can get. the inclusion of the morning call could use an explanation.

Anonymous said...

Had the opportunity to attend a meeting at the government center in Allentown last week. Getting to 7th & Hamilton was an arduous task.

My sympathies to the employees of the flag ship bank who have to commute into Allentown on a business daily basis.

Easy to see who this development is all about.

Anonymous said...

It's been puzzling to watch Borick do these polls. Is it ethical for a professor to have students do this type of commercial work?

michael molovinsky said...

anon@7:08, it appears to be some sort of symbiotic relationship. he gets validated having his poll results printed in a newspaper, and the paper gets to write that their promotion is academically validated. but how about the students paying big bucks for his political science class? there are real lessons to be taught about how the niz was created, the eminent domain threat, the surrounding communities resenting the attempted grab of their earned income taxes, instead borick chose to be part of the shenanigans.

ironpigpen said...

And everybody and their brother always like to tell ME that I am "over the top"?

Ha ha.

I actually ENJOY the obvious propaganda from the paid professionals!



Anonymous said...

Maybe he can move to center city and do his polling after dark. I would like to see him get his car out of one of the side streets that never get plowed. Anyone with half a brain can see the bullshit the morning fall reports

Anonymous said...

I am pleased Mr. Borick took the time to return the call. Any additional views on this situation are helpful.

I caution everyone to realize Mr. Borick is NOT an economist. He has NO particular expertise in investment banking and real estate, etc. He is a gatherer of responses. Surely, NO Milton Friedman, for example.

We should also note the Morning Call purchases his efforts. The Call obviously has been pleased with his results on several occasions. NO polls are pure, but some polls are more pure than others. Place Mr. Borick where you like. Consider the results, never worship them.

Anonymous said...

Comrade Molovinsky,

Every poll put out by The Morning Call is meant to mold and shape public opinion, as it should be.


Col. Viktor Tikhonov
Soviet Red Army (retired)