Fox 5 Anchors Scotto and Kelly Set New Low for NYC Transpo Reporting

Fox 5’s Good Day New York unleashed a torrent of bile for bike, bus, and pedestrian improvements, seasoned with a healthy dose of unprofessionalism, in a pair of segments focused on bike-share this morning.

First, co-anchors Greg Kelly (son of Ray) and Rosanna Scotto had DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan on, taking a ten minute break from the generally upbeat tone of morning news to express unrelenting hostility to bikes, bus improvements, pedestrian islands and the commissioner herself. Then the pair asked Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to explain why he doesn’t like bike-share.

The Know-Nothing stance of Kelly and Scotto was so intense that Markowitz’s attacks on the Department of Transportation and cycling, cartoonish though they were, came across as well-informed and even-handed in comparison.

Scotto led off her bike-share questioning (check the 7:50 mark) not by asking Markowitz’s opinion on the program — he hadn’t publicly spoken on the topic before — but by presenting a leading question all but demanding nay-saying and conflict. “We’re all concerned you’re going to get a lot of amateurs on the bike,” she started. “This is a tough city to ride a bike. What are your concerns?”

For people new to bike-share, concerns about riders’ safety are common. But several systems have been up and running for years now, and the data actually show that bike-share has a much better safety record than riding your own bike, across the globe. In Paris, London, D.C., Minneapolis, and even Mexico City, bike-share has a sterling safety record. As of last year, not a single London bike-share user had been seriously injured in 4.5 million trips. Washington bike-share riders had a crash rate half that of regular cyclists, again with no serious injuries or fatalities.

Ostensibly a journalist, Scotto should have at least been briefed on bike-share’s safety record before the show this morning, but she was less intent on informing viewers than on teeing up the borough president. Markowitz ably hit his marks. He conjured tired cultural stereotypes, saying only “young people” ride bikes. He misleadingly implied racial and class tensions, asking why DOT doesn’t install bike lanes in Brownsville and East New York (the department is currently in the process of working with the community to identify the best route for bikes lanes in Brownsville). And he projected his own opinions onto his constituents. “I think the public mostly feels the way you and I do,” he told Scotto. He’s wrong: A Quinnipiac poll found 72 percent of New Yorkers, including a majority in every borough, in favor of bike-share.

The borough president belittled bike-share as a kind of glorified way to ride the West Side Greenway or take in Central Park. “My concerns are that, once again, I think it’s a cute thing for tourists, if it could be contained in certain areas,” he said. “To encourage thousands and thousands of people in the middle of Manhattan, I don’t know.”

Tourists are expected to be big bike-share users, but according to remarks by Alta Bicycle Share President Alison Cohen in January, annual members should make up around half the use of the system. In D.C., the split is as high as 80/20 in favor of residents.

Moreover, bike-share won’t work for anyone, tourist or local, if it isn’t deployed evenly across the service area. The pricing scheme, free for members for 30 or 45 minutes but costly for long rides, is structured to help people make short, utilitarian trips. To work well, there needs to be a bike-share station within a few blocks of every origin and destination. Limiting the system to a few tourist-heavy areas would duplicate the service that bike rental companies already provide.

The good news is that, as Markowitz said, he hasn’t used his position as borough president to impede the roll-out of bike-share in any way. “I didn’t voice objection to this bike-share program and I’m curious to see how it moves,” he said. “I hope they don’t take away needed parking spaces.”

Turning to Markowitz for comment on bike policy is like asking Ted Nugent to comment on gun control — you know what you’re going to get. So the extended airtime for Marty to spout misinformation wasn’t surprising, given that Kelly and Scotto betrayed their own bias in an earlier segment with Sadik-Khan (the embed code is currently malfunctioning but you can watch it here). After a minute, Kelly dropped the television pleasantries and was lambasting Sadik-Khan for the purportedly high prices on bike-share, repeating the current misguided media talking point, and calling bicycling “a fixation of yours.”

The anchors clearly didn’t do their homework or bring any facts to the table. Scotto’s pet peeves were the changes to First Avenue, where she drives, and where based on her anecdotal experience, she’s not willing to give up space to any other mode. “We have now a bike lane. We now have a bus lane. Now we have these medians, cement medians on First Avenue making it almost impossible to turn.” she said. “It’s almost like it’s an assault if you want to drive a car.”

Those concrete medians on First Avenue are saving lives and preventing serious injuries. What Scotto describes as “assault” is a design that merely encourages motorists to drive carefully when turning into crosswalks where many people walk. Apparently the Good Day anchors don’t care to consider what it’s like to walk, bike, or take the bus in New York City.

  • moocow

    You are an old man Marty, and you are right, “you don’t know.”

  • Observer

    Local news show owned by News Corp produces wildly inaccurate and poorly reported news peice, story at 11!

    Surprised? Really? I’m just surprised that JSK even agreed to go on. It’s local news. Nobody cares.   

  • Davidbloom

    These people get into black cars outside the studio and jet up to Westchester.  They are out of touch

  • “We’re all concerned you’re going to get a lot of amateurs on the
    bike,” she started. “This is a tough city to ride a bike. What are your
    concerns?”

    All one has to do to get people concerned about cyclist safety is to try to make cycling safer. Only then their concerns suddenly become overwhelming, and they start with this nonsense of making the streets safer by keeping people they don’t like off them. 

  • Mark Walker

    Fox5 should do a segment on windshield perspective. “Cement medians”! Yeah, they’re so much more dangerous than papier-mache medians. Cement and asphalt are OK when you drive on them, less so when they promote the safety of pedestrians.

  • Anonymous


    “It’s almost like it’s an assault if you want to drive a car.”

    Wow, that’s just ridiculous.   I mean, I was hit by a car in the poorly striped bike lane on Lafayette street last week.  If there was a concrete median, I wouldn’t have had to spend $120 on a new rear wheel.

    The projection is just amazing here.  Most people do not drive in NYC and especially people who live along 1st ave. 

  • Brad Aaron

    Refusing to drop a line of questioning when the answer doesn’t suit you? Check.

    Countering facts with unsupported anecdotes? Check.

    Belittling citizens who bother to get involved in their communities? Check.

    Whining about improvements that preserve life and limb because you perceive them as inconvenient? Check.

    Continuing to whine when you’re told that hours earlier someone was brutally killed for that perceived convenience? Check.

    “Drop Dead New York” would be a more appropriate name for the Kelly and Scotto show.

  • Anonymous

    The classic bike-hater’s contradiction: amateurs on bikes are a danger to themselves and others but as they gain experience they remain dangerous to themselves and others.

  • Anonymous

    Marty looks like he could use a bike ride or two.

  • Max Power

    Considering that Good Day NY actively advertises itself as the least professional morning show on TV, I wouldn’t judge anything they do on screen as journalism:

  • krstrois

    The only thing that comforts me when I see this crap is that it has never, ever been different in this country. This place has been one giant hideous culture war from the beginning, with the powerful taking on the role of the impoverished and milking it for all it’s worth. And we are STILL getting improved streets. 

  • Mark Walker

    It is interesting, however, that Greg Kelly calls for speed bumps for cars coming off the FDR at the South St. viaduct. How fast can DOT get them in — and then extend them to West 96th between the Henry Hudson and Broadway?

  • fj

    This stuff from Murdoch News is so painfully stupid let’s welcome amnesia as this city gives birth to early-stage net zero transit; a milestone terribly exciting indeed.

  • matt

    i’m leaving feedback at askmarty@brooklynbp.nyc.gov

  • Severin

    I was actually pleasantly surprised by his reaction. It seemed he used to outright oppose cycling with zero regard for stats showing how popular it is.  Now he seems to realize bicycling is very popular, and growing so he wants to keep himself from opposing it too much and attempts the ‘where it makes sense’ approach. He said he opposes it where it doesn’t make sense, then says it makes sense downtown and then says most bike lanes are downtown (but then says it may be too unsafe in downtown).

    Also, what’s up with saying ¨I dont know if we should be encouraging people to bike¨ ? is there really a reason not too? is he going to take a page out of the LA handbook and say destinations are too far or you cant combine bicycling with transit because the transit is too poor quality in NYC?

  • Severin

    Damn, just watched the interview with JSK and Kelly sure tried grilling her with his angry complaints and questions. It amazes me that the anchors want to defend the very few that can afford to drive in New York, that they want to defend conditions that have led to thousands of unnecessary deaths and injuries.

    My favorite part of the interview with JSK was they started out saying bike and bus lanes make conditions too dangerous. JSK points out that conditions are safer so they then get to their true concern– cars cant make reckless left turns and while travel times have improved, drivers can’t have free reign on the streets anymore.

  • Anonymous

    Viewers are tuning in to be distracted and entertained.  These shows fill a void created by the lack of quality entertainment.  Everyone here knows that TV is all about money, and especially in ratings sweeps month, you see stories like this.  Ch 2 just did a story about some tourists shaken down by cops at a popular Mexican resort destination.  Searched for it on google and NOTHING else came up reagarding the incident(s) reported on Ch 2.  Still Greg Kelly is a truly despicable character (on TV anyway). 

    And in the spirit of anti-commercialism, I’m considering making up some kind of sleeve to cover the Citi logo on bikes I intend to rent as an annual member, anyone with me on that? 

  • J

    Marty Markowitz is NYC’s Rob Ford (from Toronto). Both are arrogant, intransigent, and rather rotund. Let’s just make sure Marty never gets any real power.

    Also, education is the key to the system’s success. Despite their badgering, they did give her a venue to make her key points. The anchors come across as belligerent and childish, and JSK was able to mostly get her points across. Several ultimate facts remain: 1) no one has to use the system if they don’t want to. 2) Bikeshare is happening, regardless of whether two Upper East siders who drive everywhere don’t think it will work.

    Bikeshare will be the most incredible example of people voting with their pedals and their wallets. The sheer convenience of it will be obvious even to those who drove into the city. These clowns may scream and shout now, but they’re going to be very clearly on the wrong side of this one.

  • J

    Also, this story can’t really stay long on the news cycle. It’ll get a good bit of coverage when they unveil the map tomorrow or Friday, with the usual griping about which stations are where, but after that there’s not much else to say until the system is implemented. I almost wished they had unveiled the maps at the same time as the sponsor, to get all the complaining over and done with, and then wait a few months and actually start the system.

    In addition, it seems that most websites that have printed negative stories have had a strong number of well-informed commenters that educate the writers and others about how the system works. This should help a bit. The best education, however, will be people trying the system out in the wild. When that happens, much of the negative press will go away. There will certainly bumps, but I predict they will be smoothed out quite quickly.

  • eLK

    My concerns are that we have a lot of amateurs driving heavy motor vehicles.  I’d rather have those amateurs walking or riding a bicycle.

  • eLK

    My concerns are that we have a lot of amateurs driving heavy motor vehicles.  I’d rather have those amateurs walking or riding a bicycle.

  • eLK

    My concerns are that we have a lot of amateurs driving heavy motor vehicles.  I’d rather have those amateurs walking or riding a bicycle.

  • eLK

    My concerns are that we have a lot of amateurs driving heavy motor vehicles.  I’d rather have those amateurs walking or riding a bicycle.

  • eLK

    My concerns are that we have a lot of amateurs driving heavy motor vehicles.  I’d rather have those amateurs walking or riding a bicycle.

  • eLK

    My concerns are that we have a lot of amateurs driving heavy motor vehicles.  I’d rather have those amateurs walking or riding a bicycle.

  • Rupert Kelly

    Thanks to the U.K. phone hacking scandal, we now know that there are all kinds of corrupt and illegal transactions taking place between Rupert Murdoch’s news outlets, the London Police force and powerful politicians. 

    I believe it’s only a matter of time before we learn of similar crimes taking place here in New York City. Incidentally, it must be lovely for Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch to own and operate NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly’s aggressive little moron son, Greg. How convenient.

  • Media Critic

    Watch that interview again and don’t take your eyes off of Greg Kelly.  I couldn’t tell if it’s for show, but he comes across as one very angry man. 

  • Mike

    I wouldn’t worry about this piece. Scotto and Kelly come off as uninformed; JSK as a consummate professional.

    What worries me MUCH more is that Kelly’s asinine comments probably reflect what he discusses with his dad at family dinners. If Ray runs for mayor, we’re all doomed.

  • First off Greg Kelly need’s to be taken off TV period. Second, how fast dose Rosanna Scotto need to go around a turn, 20mph!?! On the very dense East Side of all places! With that kind of mentality It’s only a matter of time before she hurt’s or kills someone…

  • CE Jr.

    Watch any FOX5 promos for Kelly & Scotto and you’ll realize why they behave this way. These sensational promos regularly feature montages of these two uninformed-on-every-issue jokers screaming out a barrage of questions at city officials pretending that they have power to get action for their viewers, like:  “Why can’t the MTA run more trains on the C line during rush hour?!”  “Why are class sizes so big in Bensonhurst’s 2nd grade class?!”  “Who’s responsible for trash removal on Arthur Avenue?!!”  “If so many people are using EZ Pass why are there still lines of cars waiting to get into the city?!!”

    Just about every city official goes on there faces the firing squad.  The quizzing has nothing to do with getting action or making the city better, it’s only to make themselves look wonderful and to rant.

  • He is such an old man.  It is a good thing he does not even think he can be Mayor.  I can’t wait for him to move to Boca Raton where his constituents already moved.

  • Ben from Bed Stuy

    Yes, the real important video clip here is the interview with JSK. I left a comment on the Fox news site (and encourage y’all to do the same). I noticed that neither host even blinked when JSK mentioned the recent death of an elderly pedestrian on 1st Avenue.
    Also, nice bit of interview judo from Sadik-Khan when Kelly ends his interview by adding his one safety suggestion – speed bumps downtown off of the FDR exits at South Street – and JSK says, “I’ll take all of your engineering suggestions under advisement.” It’s a funny thing to say, and she’s right – in terms of the DOT, especially road safety and design, every Joe Schmoe believes he knows better than the real engineers at DOT.
    Also, I was very impressed how she stayed positive and focused on her message of safety and choice. She knows that she can’t convince “oppressed drivers” like Scotto that they are not “under assault.” Rather, she will continue to make our city safer for all road users, and Kelly and Scotto will continue kvetching.

  • fj

    This is a wonderful post by Noah and Janette came off as Queen of New York bequeathing maternal rational order to the bizarre goofy world of typical nutty New York ethnic court jesters Scotto and Kelly.

  • fj

    Gilda Radner will live forever as will Roseanne Roseannadanna.

  • Anonymous

    I love the part where Marty says “I speak to young people all the time who love the bikes lanes”  then a second later says ” I think most people feel like you and I do.  And there is a new administration coming and who knows what will happen with these bikes”

    Marty think young people don’t count as people and fails to realize that as the younger generation moves into more important positions, we will only see more cycling facilities.  Regardless of all that he is also oblivious to the diversity of people on bikes.  Maybe something like people on wheels will help show people that biking is not exclusively for young people. http://www.facebook.com/POWPeopleOnWheels

  • Anonymous

    Did we need to say Greg Kelly is an A hole?  We all knew that.

  • Second Class Citizen

    The JSK interview was impressive.  I wish I could stay so positive and focused when addressing cranks who hate bikes.

  • Rhubarbpie

    Markowitz is painful to watch, and has been forever. But there’s really no need for the comments on his age or looks–we’ve got far better arguments to use than these kind of attacks.

  • J

    @51dab7e187360270c97a6c36f63be77d:disqus I think the age comment was referring to what Marty said himself “I don’t want to be an old man, before my time”, which I take to mean a cranky old man, who complains about changes. He says he doesn’t want to fit that image, and people here are just pointing out that he very much fits that image. The comments are about his resistance to change, more than his age, but I can see how it comes across as an attack on his age.

  • fj

    Murdoch’s Shakespearean Tragedy

    Eleveden’s investigators are looking into allegations that News Corp. reporters bribed police, Army, and defense ministry officials — and possibly other British officeholders — to win scoops and perhaps other business favors.  That means the evidence Elveden turns up could form the basis of charges in the United States against News Corp. and its employees or executives under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars American-based companies from paying off “foreign officials” in order “to obtain or retain business.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/05/murdochs-shakespearean-tragedy.html

    via @NewYorker

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