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Friday’s Headlines: ‘Stupid Network Tricks’ Edition

Remember when they called it the”idiot box”? Well, it still is.

We seldom rant about car culture at the networks, but this particular piece of idiocy caught our eye yesterday:

NBCNews presidential campaign embed Marianna Sotomayor this week voiced a TV report on Beto O'Rourke while driving a car.

The video shows Sotomayor yakking into a dashboard camera, while holding the wheel with one hand, gesticulating animatedly with the other, and barely glancing at the road. Luckily, she appears to be driving through the countryside and not in city conditions — but even so.

Amid a national epidemic of road carnage, no news organization — especially one based in New York City, which has seen double-digit jumps in traffic deaths this year — should allow its correspondent to endanger the public while reporting.

Here's the rest of the news from a slow day:

    • Fast Company, Fox5, and many other outlets reported that the ride-hailing company Via is licensing its technology to the city Department of Education in bid to modernize the school-bus system. The partnership will enable school buses "to more quickly adapt routes to respond to kids’ needs, and the tech platform will provide GPS tracking and real-time updates to parents and students as they navigate school transit," Fast Company quoted Via's CEO as saying. That sounds promising, considering how many city children have been endangered or worse by school-bus drivers over the years (those links hold plenty of stories).
    • Marketwatch compared car-commuting times in major American cities and finds that they are worse everywhere. New Yorkers waste 92 hours a year (3.8 days, and 38 gallons of gas) in traffic jams, compared to Angelenos' 119 hours. We rank in the top-five worst. Ditch the car for transit, baby!
    • David Meyer at the Tabloid of Record wrote about the expansion of a city program to get the homeless off the subways and into shelters. NYDN also covered, as did WNYC.
    • More cycling infrastructure coming to deadly Coney Island Avenue. (amNY)
    • The Post and some others also covered a fresh "cops and cars" angle: the NYPD officer who tried to collect insurance money on a BMW he said was stolen — but was found torched. Hmm.
    • Gothamist smelled a propaganda campaign in a spate of recent good-news stories about LaGuardia. (Guess the Cuomo press shop still has game.) It also notes that the cops are looking for a perv who's taking upskirt pics of women on the subway.
    • In more LaGuardia news, Gothamist news editor Christopher Robbins went on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show to talk about traffic tie-ups at the airport.
    • Guse at the Newsuh was also on the airplane beat today, writing about how Qantas is testing a 19-hour, direct flight from New York to Sydney to see if people can handle it. Count us as skeptical. After working for Rupert Murdoch's Post, we're not sure how anyone could spend 19 hours straight cooped up in a flying tin can with a bunch of Australians.
    • In case you missed it, the judge in the Morris Park Avenue road diet lawsuit (remember that spurious effort to prevent the city from making a dangerous roadway safe?) has ordered final motions by Aug. 30, meaning  there won't likely be a decision in this easily dismissable case before the fall. (Michael Kaess via Twitter)

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