Friday’s Headlines: ‘Stupid Network Tricks’ Edition

Remember when they called it the"idiot box"? Well, it still is.
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)
  • Joe R.

    In all fairness to Marianna Sotomayor it looks like she was driving on a rural Interstate where thanks to ludicrously low speed limits driving only takes a fraction of your attention. In fact, I’ve used exactly that angle to advocate for higher legal speed limits on highways. Lower speed limits make drivers think they can safely do something else, like gesticulate and yap into a camera, while driving. Higher speed limits quickly wake them up and make them realize if they do anything but focus on their driving they’ll DIE. Scenery rushing by at 100+ mph generally has that effect.

    Of course, none of this excuses what she did. The optics are horrible for the reasons Gersh said. And of course I’m not advocating for higher speed limits on urban streets where there’s already enough going on to keep a driver’s attention, even at 25 mph.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Meaning there won’t likely be a decision in this easily dismissable case before the fall.”

    But it might mean there will be a decision, which is what the plaintiffs want to avoid.

  • BronxEE2000

    And here’s hoping that Morris Park Avenue stays the way it is now. There’s nothing wrong with it.

  • Michael Kaess

    I’m a resident here. Morris Park Ave is a dangerous speedway and it needs to change. This road diet should have been implemented last year.

  • Vooch

    Agreed – on superhighways in the sticks higher speed limit

    inside cities all streets should have 20 MPH limits

  • BronxEE2000

    I’m also a resident just off MPA. I drive most of it on my way to and from work, 5 days a week. I see the traffic on it. A road diet is just going to make things worse.

  • BrandonWC

    You’re the traffic. Lives are more important than your car.

  • BronxEE2000

    I’m not just thinking of my car. I see what happens on that street every day. I’d rather people be able to get through and businesses be able to conduct work.

  • crazytrainmatt

    They did the same treatment to Allerton about a decade ago and it’s been just fine (not to mention thousands of 4->3 conversions nationwide). The turn bays make things better for everyone.

    At least the bike lanes might give people a safer way to get to the 180th St subway station, and eventually to the Metro North station on the other side. Citibike would be a great fit here given the gaps in subway coverage.

  • BronxEE2000

    The stretch of Allerton (east of Boston Road) that was converted is mainly residential (still not a fan of the change). MPA has a lot of business on it.

    The Bx21 provides the necessary transport across MPA. Citibike isn’t needed.

  • crazytrainmatt

    How is the Bx21? It looks like it runs every 10″ at peak but it’s on the list of the most unreliable routes, presumably because the rest of the route is through the south bronx.

    The options to/from Manhattan in that area all have their downsides. The 5 and 6 can be pretty long walks. The BxM10 crawls through Manhattan and its uptown stops are not placed for a transfer to subway or SBS.

    If the Pelham bike path continued through to Fordham, it would frankly be a faster good weather option to bike to MNR now that you can take the NH trains too. And if they ever fill the gaps under the Bruckner and in West Farms, biking all the way will be faster than any of the public transit options except direct MNR to Morris Park Station.

  • AMH

    CitiBike doesn’t preclude bus service.

  • AMH

    Some of the twitter comments on that video are

  • HamTech87

    On the distracted driving tweet, I selected “Report Tweet” and scrolled through the questions and selected “Promotes physical harm”. Which it does.

  • Joe R.

    The goal of these lawsuits is to tie up a case they know is a lost cause in court for years, even decades. That’s why I think it’s long past time we require that these types of cases be expedited. Once a lawsuit is filed, all litigation must be completed within a year. That includes any and all appeals. After a year, the suit is automatically dismissed if the plaintiffs don’t win by then, whether or not they exhaust their appeals.

    Causing delays until the other side gives up is a common tactic in our justice system. A lot of people win cases with no merit this way. It’s time to require expediting all such cases. Maybe people will stop with these groundless lawsuits if they know they have no chance of winning, and no chance of delaying for years, either.

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  • GuestBx

    Same with White Plains Road

  • GuestBx

    White Plains Rd was converted some years ago and it works out. Same with Prospect Ave. Lots of examples citywide.

  • Larry Littlefield


    People blame the buildings on Rikers Island for abusing prisoners during the multiple years they are awaiting trial.

    Why doesn’t anyone ask why accused criminals await trial for years?

  • Alethia

    I habitually have roughly about $6,000 to $8,000 almost every 1 month using the net. Haven’t you realized that the future is in the online arena whether is be online advertising or simply working for companies which are based and hire online workers. If you don’t do it today you will always regret it because sooner or later you will be force to make the change however, you won’t be in the driver’s seat any longer. So what are the benefits to having the capacity to generate money on the web? Well there are several. For one there is increased capacity to automate and therefore be functioning while, you are sleeping. You also don’t need to work at the uncomfortable and typical work environment. You can work where you need –at home, at the library, in the coffee shop, at your cottage, or on your Caribbean cruise. You can even wear what you would like, I prefer sweat pants and a T-shirt you might like your bath robe. Other huge benefits to a”earn money online” kind of job are you don’t need to think about product whether or not storage, supply, tech assistance, you name it. So this sounds great right? So what are you waiting for? Oh. . .you think the first risk of quitting your job to generate money on the internet is too high? Well then don’t stop your job! You are able to easily maintain both a standard job and an online income at the exact same time and you’ll find very soon that you don’t have anything to fear. So please do not wait, now is your chance to beat the mad rush and in the pace that makes you comfy. >>>



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