One of the fascinating aspects of the ongoing eminent domain controversy, at least fascinating to us, is that after the enormous amount of news coverage, publicity and commentary that appeared in the printed press right after the Kelo case was decided, the subject of what actually happened in New London after the Supreme Court’s decision became taboo as far as the mainstream press is concerned. Save for a 2005 article noting the lack of progress on the Fort Trumbull redevelopment site – the ground zero of the Kelo controversy – there has been nary a peep in the New York Times (at least none that we know of or can find) about the dismal failure of the redevelopment project that was the cause of it all. Until now. Readers of this blog are by now aware that this project turned out to be a fiasco – an utter, total failure. Save for the renovation of one Coast Guard building (as public a use as can be imagined) nothing has been built on the site where Suzette Kelo’s and her neighbors’ homes once stood, in spite of the city’s representations to the U.S. Supreme Court that this project was the product of careful and thorough planning. But that failure, strangely enough, has not been of interest to the Times.
Now, it looks like the Times has let it slip that the Fort Trumbul project has been a nonstarter. But how that bit of news was revealed is fascinating. It comes to us buried at the end of a sort of a human interest story by Larry Bloom, Spotlight Finds Eminent Domain Crusader, NY Times, April 17, 2009 (Connecticut Section). While it purports to tell how Suzette Kelo was propelled into the journalistic big time by appearing on the Sean Hannity show, it devotes as much space to Ann Coulter’s – yes, Ann Coulter’s — appearance and grooming as it does to the Kelo case. And talk about burying a story, it is only in the penultimate sentence — yes, the next to last sentence – of this story that the Times tells us that “The tract of land on which it [Kelo’s house] sat and which Ms. Kelo defended so staunchly is now empty. No buildings, no enterprise, no jobs.”
So it looks like we won’t be able to complain from now on that the New York Times has been ignoring the failure of the Fort Trumbull project. After all, they have now devoted an entire sentence to it. Buried in a human interest story. In the Connecticut section, yet.
For the whole Times article go to