Ride the Puddles

Anti-Cyclist Hate-Mongers: Part 1: “Journalism” That Isn’t

Posted by bikezilla on August 22, 2010

Have you ever seen a movie that was either so bad or so over the top that you thought, “This has got to be intentional”, but you just couldn’t be sure?

That’s how the new anti-cyclist, anti-cycling hate coverage from CBS and the NY Post hits me.

These are “news” stories, but have clearly been reduced to well, sorry, but blog entries. There’s no real reporting, no journalistic integrity, just a pile of “I hate cyclists so they need to suffer . . . A LOT!”

And that’s totally ok, or would be, except that they’re TRYING to pass it off as real journalism.

The articles I cite and link to below are filled, nearly beginning to end, with such outrageously overstated rhetoric that it has been thrown into the realm of hyperbole. When you read it you’ll very likely find yourself inclined to scratch your head and think, “Are they serious? Or are they trying to punk us all?”

That’s what CBS and the NY Post have fallen to, while attempting to disguise what they’re doing as a real deal journalistic endeavor.

Andrea Peyser of the Post says that this guy is the ” Upper East Side’s No. 1 quality-of-life menace”.

Then, when she snags a polite and helpful bike delivery guy named Ivan Zamora to browbeat him regarding his evil ways she claimed to be “Taking my life into my hands”

Ms Peyser also says that cyclists are “assassin wannabes”, indicating that it is, in fact, their intended goal to commit murder with their bicycles, but they just can’t get it right.

Soon after that she calls them “lethal”, so her implication that they’re all murderers, while certainly slanderous, was no accident.

Of course, she also cites them for being “fearless” as if that in itself is a hanging offense.

She lists anyone who supports NY’s mayor as a “minion”, anyone who supports cycling as a “sympathizer”, attempting to conjure the most negative emotional imagery. But, she doesn’t really give us anything like a fact beyond one illiterate messenger and one unidentified cyclist who “sped around the corner” and claims that “every pedestrian ever to tread the sidewalks” has some tale of cycling related terror to relay with great trepidation.

Ok, no, there is the story of Stuart Gruskin, 50, or “athletic 50” as Ms Peyser tells us in her emotionally manipulative style, who died of a head injury after he crossed “between 5th and 6th avenues” (as the video below tells us) and was struct by a delivery rider heading the wrong way on a one way street, while he was jay walking.

The cyclist was cited with safety violations, but no criminal charges, why? Because both people were at fault (though we’re getting back to the whole messenger / delivery rider thing and their issues in Part 3).

In Ms Peyser’s mind this accident between two people acting in a careless manner automatically elevates ALL cyclists to “wannabe assassins”.

Then she’s outraged, OUTRAGED, that (by her own numbers) 63% of all cyclists do in fact obey traffic lights and 90% never ride the wrong way down a one way street. So apparently while we’re all out blinded by our blood rage and hoping to kill as many pedestrians as possible, we do it all in a fairly law abiding manner. For shame!

Ms Peyser’s one accurate statement is this:

“Bicycle riders who run roughshod over the city should face the law.”

But her assertion that all cyclists fit easily and with room to spare into this category is disgustingly far off the mark.

Ms Peyser, to be more blunt, is a liar exaggerator, a hate-filled manipulator wrongly painting every New Yorker as a bike fearing martyr, every cyclist as a blood-crazed killer and top of all that she’s a charlatan posing as a real journalist.

In addition to the grossly elevated hyperbole there’s the contradictions.

Like the “journalist” on the CBS post says that tickets to law-breaking cyclists are up by a considerable margin, but also makes it clear that the police to nothing about this homegrown bunch of street level terrorists.

Which is it?

They also chalk all of this bedlam up to either brand new ignorant cyclists (er, “bikers”) or to simple scofflaws. Either way it comes out to be just your run of the mill, every day guy or girl on a bike.

But the video they show is almost entirely bike messengers and delivery guys. Commercial riders. (again, we’ll come back to them in Part 3)

Once more, which is it?

Then there is the intentional slight of hand. Like when CBS’s Tony Aiello tells us that there are no DOT statistics on “dangerous cyclist encounters”, only to find out later that he, in fact, never bothered to contact the DOT.

Or Ms Peyser at the NY Post again:

In the same paragraph that she cites “reams of anecdotal evidence” (as opposed to even a hint of actual evidence) she admits that while there has been a considerable increase in the number of cyclists in NYC, the number of cyclist vs pedestrian accidents as DECREASED from 130 a couple years ago to just 49.

There is one interesting little fact thrown in all of this.

Manhattan has 14 whole miles of bike lanes. Fourteen miles!

Now could you tell us, how does that compare to the hundreds of miles of streets? Do the bike lanes cover even one percent of that?

Do motor vehicles and pedestrians honor those lanes? Or do they freely cross into them and even park in them, block them off and loiter in them?

Are these lanes placed in such a way as to allow cyclists to travel without fear of riding directly into a suddenly opened car door?

If not, then the system itself forces cyclists to ride in ways that put them in direct conflict with vehicular and foot traffic and the system itself needs to be modified so that all may coexist harmoniously.

So tsk tsk to CBS and the NY Post. Is that really what passes for journalism in NYC?

If what CBS and the NY Post are feeding us IS journalism, then it’s something you’d find put together by the goofy kids who weren’t anywhere close to good enough to make it onto the staff of their High School Freshman newspaper.


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