Did Reporters Ever Dig Beneath Brodsky’s Populist Rhetoric?
This weekend, in a bizarre profile of congestion pricing’s alpha opponent, Richard Brodsky, the New York Times did little to counter the Westchester Assemblyman’s populist rhetoric. The piece, by reporter Joseph Berger, is full of odd editorializing, and appears to reprint some of Brodsky’s talking points part and parcel without attribution:
Park Avenue co-op owners could easily have absorbed the $8 fee. But it
would have been tougher for the Flatbush carpenter who does not want to
schlep his toolbox on the subway so he can renovate a Tribeca kitchen
or the Queens home care attendant who might have to take a bus to a
subway to care for an elderly woman in Gramercy Park but is lucky
enough to have a husband who can drop her off on his way to work.
As commenters have pointed out in the thread for today’s headlines, it’s easy to impart made-up motivations to imaginary characters, but how about citing some real data? Is it that difficult to dig up census numbers on car commute rates or how much car owners earn compared to people who depend on transit?
Come to think of it, throughout the whole lead-up to the pricing non-vote, it’s hard to recall a news account in any of the major dailies that gave more than token print to the populist argument of the pro-pricing side. While editorial boards at the Times and Daily News were steadfast pricing supporters, for whatever reason — dull copy? a superficial attempt to maintain "balance"? laziness? — the day-to-day reporting seldom, if ever, challenged the assumptions beneath Brodsky’s "progressive" stance.