CNN On Bicycling – Almost A Fair View

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There’s a thing that I’ve noticed in some web journalism of late–the article without a conclusion, balancing of facts or a real point. I’m not sure if it’s an attempt of the mainstream media to preset a “balanced” article without injecting a bias, but it’s odd for someone with a background in journalism. The problem is, it’s only really visible when the content is about something you’re familiar with.

This cropped up today in this CNN article titled “Drivers, bicyclists clash on road sharing.” and while it’s a pretty good look at some of the bike-car conflicts in the world, it utterly lacks any verification of facts or balance.

For example, the article cites a radio DJ who said

“The roads were made for cars,” KTAR-FM radio guest host John Hook said in Phoenix, Arizona, last month. “And bicyclists share the road, but sometimes they think they own the road.”

Without mentioning the fact that roads were made for bikes. Okay that’s a historical issue so sure let that slide, but then it follows up with a citation of the $730 million in stimulus funding for bike and pedestrian projects with this:

“Treating bicycles and other non-motorized transportation as equal to motorized transportation would cause an economic catastrophe,” Carter Wood, a senior adviser at the National Association of Manufacturers, told The New York Times. “If put it into effect, the policy would more than undermine any effort the Obama administration has made toward jobs. You can’t have jobs without the efficient movement of freight.”

After which there’s no balancing comment by the office of the Secretary of Transportation or anyone from LAB or an economist or, well anyone who might balance out the point made by someone paid by the largest lobby group for tractor-trailers.

And that’s a pretty incendiary comment. $730 million in bike-ped spending in stimulus funding would more than undermine any effort…toward jobs.” Really? How about the jobs created by building the bike-ped infrastructure? (The point of the stimulus funding was to get shovel-ready projects going, after all.) And could the addition of pedestrian facilities to bridges and roadways really undo job efforts? Of $787 billion dollars in stimulus funding, $730 *million would derail that?

Bikes and feet are a lot more powerful than anyone thought.

I guess this journalistic trend is fueled by the fact that CNN was designed for TV where it’s perfectly normal to file a several-minute-long piece on absolutely nothing.

By the way, if you’re interested in hating people, check out the comments section on that article.