David Shuster, Freedom Tower Fighter

Here’s a clip of David Shuster, host of MSNBC’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” interviewing/lecturing Port Authority executive director Chris Ward on Friday about the delays surrounding the World Trade Center redevelopment. The interview capped off a weeklong series on the redevelopment, with Mr. Shuster on an apparent crusade to scrap the current redevelopment plans and instead rebuild the original World Trade Center towers.

The plan that Mr. Shuster is pushing has been urged by various individuals and groups, though has never gained much momentum among key bureaucrats and elected officials.

The crusade on MSNBC doesn’t come at the most opportune time. The Freedom Tower’s core is rising well above street level and hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts have been awarded.

Attention to detail with the redevelopment doesn’t seem to be a focus of Mr. Shuster’s, as on numerous occasions in the weeklong series, he states misinformation as though it’s fact.

An example:

Mr. Shuster: The Freedom Tower apparently hasn’t received any corporate tenant commitments and a big potential one pulled out recently.

Mr. Ward: In fact, we do have private sector tenants who have signed a letter of commitment.

Mr. Shuster: Well we look forward to hearing who the private tenants are, because that doesn’t seem to be public knowledge; we haven’t found any, but that’s another issue. Here’s the larger issue…

Not to say things are going great with leasing at the Freedom Tower, but in June, the Port Authority announced it had a commitment from Beijing Vantone to take over 180,000 square feet in the building. No “big potential” tenants have been looking closely at the building, though Mr. Shuster may have been referring to Merrill Lynch, which twice considered moving to a different building on the site.

David Shuster, Freedom Tower Fighter