Viral Anti-Bike Content — The Daily News Is Doing It Wrong

The Wall Street Journal schooled the world on how to generate pageviews with this instant classic of anti-bike insanity starring editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz. Approximately 3.4 million websites embedded this video before Streetsblog got around to it, and “Dorothy Rabinowitz” is still rocketing up the Twitter trend chart. Meanwhile, the Daily News posted an addled anti-bike conspiracy theory last night by someone named Jack Brown, and hardly anyone noticed.

There are clearly some lessons here for the tabloids as they seek maximum clickage. First, if you really want to set the internet ablaze, put the anti-bike nutjob on camera. Dorothy Rabinowitz would remain in obscurity today if the Journal had simply printed a crazy screed against bike-share under her byline. Instead she’s a global celebrity thanks to the paper’s multi-media operation. Maybe Jack Brown has the same star potential. We may never know, because the Daily News didn’t put him on camera.

Second, it helps if your crazy anti-bike person has some institutional stature. Dorothy Rabinowitz is on the Wall Street Journal editorial board. Part of the reason her crazy views about bicycling are so captivating is that she’s a bona fide member of the city’s media elite. Jack Brown is just a guy with an acronym (“Coalition Against Rogue Riding” — get it?). To maximize pageviews, the Daily News should put its editorial board members on camera. Really own the anti-bike delusions. Let’s see Arthur Browne rant about the smugness of street safety advocates. People will click on that.

So, that’s the easy advice. Alternatively, the tabloids could get a huge amount of attention while rendering an important public service (and without becoming a global laughingstock). They could take a long, hard look at the crashes that injure and kill New Yorkers every day, and why police are so quick to exonerate reckless drivers based on nothing more than the testimony of the person behind the wheel and his passengers.

Killing with a car is legal in NYC as long as you’re sober and stay at the scene. There is a huge story here just waiting for the tabloids to tell it.

  • Peter

    Please, tell me this video is just an SNL satire piece…

  • Angie Schmitt

    Hey, that’s Dani. She does look sinister!

  • We had some pretty hilarious reporting last night. After a four minute report about how everyone in NELA is opposed to some new bike lanes, the reporter ends the report by saying, “But a majority of those present approved the bike lanes and Councilman Huizar announced they will go forward.” Uhm, ok…

    http://la.streetsblog.org/2013/06/04/huizar-bike-lanes-on-colorado-will-go-forward-fox-11-is-shocked/

  • Larry Littlefield

    The Post should show up in Windsor Terrace this weekend.

    The Key Food/Walgreens starts construction tomorrow, which means all those cars that have been parking in the parking lot (many supposedly owned by Breezy Point refugees staying with friends and family) will have to find spaces on the street.

    There is a big area on my block with the spaces blocked off, reasons unknown. Construction?

    And they’ll be filming a movie over the weekend, with our street and some others off limits. Summer weekends are a time when people from other neighborhoods drive here and park to go to Prospect Park.

    And parking was getting tight anyway, as non-driving elderly homeowners continue to be replaced by those affluent enough to afford these crazy housing prices, adding at least one car to the neighborhood per transaction.

    Worst of all, the kids are back from college with our car, which I now have to find a place to put.

    But I’m sure if the Post interviews 100 people, they can find one they can goad into blaming bicycles. Even if there are no bikeshare stations planned for the neighborhood until the distant future.

  • Anonymous

    Just stick to the numbers. Killed by bike vs. Killed by car. Streetsblog has the moral high ground.

  • Gerald Fittipaldi

    The Wall Street Onion.

  • The bike lobby’s journalists are as good as any! And better than those idiots! Donate to Streetsblog!

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’ve been waiting to see those numbers, along with those injured, and pedestrians killed and injured in pedestrian-only falls on a public ROW, in one spreadsheet. I thought there was legislation passed some time back.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, she is a complete nutjob! The host isn’t that much better either.

    “Everyone knows that the main danger on the street is cyclists that have killed 0 people and not the cars that have killed more than 500!”
    How can you even say that with a straight face?

  • vnm

    This Atlantic Monthly short post gawking at the Rabinowitz spectacle was by itself shared more than 3,000 times.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/a-publications-spirit-captured/276465/

  • Seriously. It’s possible that millions of people have seen this video by now. They should make a sequel or a spin-off. The supporting cast should appear on reality TV competitions. Dani Simons should hire an agent.

  • Joe R.

    I don’t think we could ask for a better spokesperson for the other side than Rabinowitz. Any who might be on the fence will watch that video and think, no way, I can’t side with someone who sounds like they’re doing a skit for Saturday Night Live. Dorothy Rabinowitz has forever earned a place in history as the Sarah Palin of bike share.

  • Joe R.

    I just thought of something which perhaps explains Ms. Rabinowitz’s irrational hatred of bicycles. Here first name is Dorothy, and given her age, she probably saw the Wizard of Oz in a movie theater. I guess this had a lasting effect on her:

  • I really need a youtube remix. “BEGRIMED” should flsh on the screen in all caps every time she says it. Also “IDEOLGY” …

  • john

    More bikes less cars mean more deaths – reality in Murdoch’s world of helpful insights needed in creating a “Better America”.

  • Joe

    If you bicycle jerks could stay off the sidewalks, notice lights and identify the direction of traffic flow, not so many people would hate you.

  • carma

    omg. this old hag is disgusting. she reminds me of the evil witch in the wizard of oz.

  • carma

    exactly like what joe r posted..

  • You shouldn’t say things like that about nice people like Mr. Werner. It’s rude.
    http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/06/04/why-werner-rides/

  • Joe Linton

    Good to learn that the “bike lobby” is indeed “all powerful”! Hehehehehehe

  • Anonymous

    Those interesting lessons indeed apply to STreetsblog itself. More video, more institutional prestige …..

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    It also doesn’t help the daily news that their circulation is 75% less than WSJ for a far more expensive paper, likely because WSJ has actual real life reporters who break real news. Daily News story writers cherry pick react quotes from non-experts on issues that are obviously public. WSJ’s editorial board are a bunch of nuts but at least the rest of the paper has standards.

  • Guest

    Kill a couple kids, however, and drivers can still be loved by everyone!

  • dmknyc

    Can’t wait till this bitter old bag kicks the bucket

  • dmknyc

    Can’t wait till this bitter old bag kicks the bucket

  • DB

    It’s like watching a brother kick and scream when his parents make him share a tiny portion of his Halloween candy with his sister. “WHAT? Why do I have to share? She doesn’t deserve this candy because she’s a nuisance to this family. Why are you being such dictators, mom and dad? But, but but…”

    I guess Dorothy is too old to grow up at this point.

  • Oh please. I love Margaret Hamilton. “And your little dog too…”