Friday’s Headlines: The Bike Revolution Will Not Be Televised Edition

CBS's Marcia Kramer interviewed TransAlt Executive Director Danny Harris last week.
CBS's Marcia Kramer interviewed TransAlt Executive Director Danny Harris last week.

“Call it ‘helmet-gate”?!?

No, Marcia, let’s not call it “helmet-gate.” Let’s retire such hackneyed phrases.

Marcia Kramer’s day-two story on Mayor de Blasio’s Wednesday bikelash presser — where Hizzoner loosed that he’s pandering (um, sorry, pondering) helmet and license requirements for city cyclists — had all the usual Kramerian flourishes: The cliched lede; the man-on-the-street interviews; the “tribune of the people” interrogation of the feckless mayor; and the quizzical questioning of the exotic lobbyist — in this case, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris.

Harris delivered a soft, anti-car rejoinder to the mayor’s sally that sounded reasonable enough for TV news.

“It’s not about regulations, it’s about prioritizing people over cars through safety, through regulation, every element that takes away New York from cars,” he said.

Ho-hum.

Kramer’s old, cold and tedious package reminded us why network news sheds viewers every Nielsen period. It’s not some objective retelling of the day’s events. It’s a deeply biased medium that refuses to declare its allegiances or agenda — in this case, Kramer’s antipathy toward cycling.

Nope, the bike revolution “will not be televised,” to borrow Gil Scott-Heron’s phrase. It will be blogged.

In other news:

  • It’s a trend: After Buzzfeed News took down Amazon for its freight horror show that compromises safety and stresses workers, the Times and Propublica teamed for a similar expose on “The Human Cost of Amazon’s Fast, Free Shipping.”
  • Curbed chimed in on why more cycling regulations won’t make city streets safer.
  • AMNY goes for some news-you-can-use in a piece explaining how to use MTA WiFi safely.
  • Guse at the Newsuh aired complaints that the Department of Education failed to roll out promised electric yellow buses in time for the opening of school. (Local trivia: City school kids call the yellow buses “cheese buses” because they look like a log of Velveta.)
  • Guse also reported that TWU Local 100 slowed buses in Brooklyn yesterday on account of a contract dispute. Slowed buses? How could anyone tell?
  • Governor Cuomo (who, like the mayor, seldom sees the inside of a subway) called for a lifetime ban on subway perverts. (NYP)
  • In other MTA news, the authority’s inspector general has reaped a bounty of complaints after she began publicizing the results of investigations. (NYP)
  • Gothamist and some others  covered the hit-and-run crash in Brooklyn that left two in critical condition.
  • The City dug into data in order to analyze the surge of abandoned cars in East Brooklyn.
  • An op-ed in Gotham Gazette argued that the forthcoming Congestion Pricing Board must advocate for buses.
  • And, finally, a local-news reporter didn’t quite know what to make of New Jersey’s new Oonee pod: “A new parking lot has arrived at the Journal Square PATH station in Jersey City — but it’s only for bikes,” she sighed. Imagine!
  • Joe R.

    Kramer’s old, cold and tedious package reminded us why network news sheds viewers every Nielsen period.

    It’s mostly those born before about 1950 (like Kramer), and some between 1950 and 1960, who even watch network news these days. I personally stopped altogether as soon as we got cable in the late 1980s, although I was never a regular network news watcher. As that generation either dies off, or become senile, network news will die the death it so richly deserves. It was never about news anyway. It’s a show designed to attract viewers by tempting them with sound bites, but not showing those stories until they sit most of the way through a mind-numbing, dumbed down, biased version of the day’s events. And then sometimes breaking the lead story into a two-parter so the audience has to repeat the tedium the next day. Happened once to me. I was so pissed I haven’t watched network news since. Given the format, it was never possible to go into any great detail about the stories unless you stuck to just a few but the networks deliberately made the choice to have meaningless 30-second sound bites a long time ago. Those sound bites are picked out of context to elicit the most controversy. Gone are the days of people like Cronkite covering the lunar landings where they actually didn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence.

    As for Kramer, she’s typical of her generation holding on to power and influence far longer than previous generations. She’s almost 71. She should have hung it up when she was 65 at the latest. Give the job to a younger person. Her generation’s views are grossly over represented in all leadership positions in our society. Larry calls them Generation Greed. I call them the generation that just won’t retire.

  • kevd

    Just to be clear, the same people who brought us “de Brainless” are calling on others to retire hackneyed phrases?

  • JohnBrownForPresident

    yet another display that TA made the worst choice in their new ED, not a firebrand but a soft coozie of a person 😐

  • After the “What would happen if a man on a bike was a terrorist” debacle of 2011, one would think Marcia Kramer would have lost all credibility and embarrassed her network so thoroughly that she would have been permanently banned from covering “bike bedlam” or whatever CBS2 calls their cycling-related segments. Then again, preserving car culture and ginning up controversy is a hell of a drug.

    https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2011/07/08/bin-laden-is-dead-but-the-second-avenue-bike-lane-lives-on/

  • i applied man. or at least i tried. i’m too fire-brandy.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Point of information — those older folks who are still working (or otherwise contributing) are doing everyone else a favor. It’s those who expect more years “retired” than they worked who are abusers. That’s slavery light, with everyone else their slaves.

    Now you might say Kramer’s disinformation has negative value. But they’d just hire some poor Millennial to shill for the auto advertisers in their place, and they have enough problems as it is.

    https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/the-bullshit-job-boom

  • Joe R.

    My point is more that a lot of those in leadership positions, who easily could have self-financed their retirement even when they were in their 30s or 40s, hence they wouldn’t be a financial burden on society, are continuing to work well past any reasonable age. France for example has a mandatory retirement age of 62. The purpose of getting people to retire at a reasonable age is two fold. One, they open up a job for a younger person who may need it. Two, they’re able to enjoy life at an age when they’re still relatively young and healthy. I’m a big believer in that. Even if you’re still able to do your job well into your 70s, 80s, even 90s, at some point you should give up the 40 hour a week grind. If you really enjoy your work that much, work part-time and only take work which interests you and pays well.

    I was involuntarily retired at age 55 because I’m taking care of my mother. Also, I was fortuitously no longer needed on my last consulting position, so it wasn’t a case of making a hard choice of giving up a 6-figure income. In truth, since the gig only averaged 20 hours a week I probably could have continued working it since I was working exclusively from home. Anyway, even if things had gone my way, they still needed me, and I had no other responsibilities, I had no plans to work past age 60 or so. At some point you no longer want to be bothered doing other people’s bidding. Now I have no idea how long my mother will live. In theory I could return to gainful employment after she dies. In practice I could be well into my 60s. I’m not working at that age. I probably won’t have the energy for it for one thing. And after being a virtual prisoner taking care of my mother, I want to return to some semblance of a real life.

    That article is very true. Technology didn’t mean people worked fewer hours. It just meant a proliferation of mostly low-paying, meaningless, make-work jobs. Fortunately, since I’m an engineer, much of my work served a real purpose which was plainly apparent to me. I feel for anyone who has to spend their life doing work which they can plainly see has no purpose. Along those lines, that’s why I think universal basic income is a great idea. People will always get at least some money coming in. Employers will probably be reluctant to have as many make-work jobs. Most people will still work because the UBI probably will barely cover necessities, if that, but it will be part-time, and at jobs which have a real purpose.

  • kevd

    “France for example has a mandatory retirement age of 62”
    Completely untrue.
    62 is the earliest you can retire in France (with retirement benefits) it is not mandatory.

  • isabell

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