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Tuesday’s Headlines: Get Your Act Together, Daily News

12:05 AM EDT on September 29, 2020

The top half of tomorrow’s wood.

The Daily News is just the worst sometimes. No matter how much I cajole my former colleagues over there, the pro-cop editors still let through the kind of egregious victim-blaming and driver-absolving that should never leave the DCPI press release.

Latest example: The tabloid's coverage of yesterday's horrific death of 7-year-old Sama Ali under the wheels of an armored truck in Bath Beach. In the story, writers Ellen Moynihan and John Annese, begin by reporting that the driver struck Ali as he turned left onto a street Ali was crossing.

Then, inexplicably, they throw up their hands.

"Police do not suspect criminality," the story says. "The driver, a man in his 40s, said he didn’t see the little girl as she crossed, the [NYPD] spokesman said."

This is reporting? Cops say, "There's nothing to see here" and we all just ... move on?

Sorry, but here are some facts that didn't make it into the story: A driver who doesn't see a little girl crossing a street should be charged with failure to exercise due care. A driver who hits a girl crossing a street should be charged with failure to yield.

But to the Daily News — and too many papers around this country (including the Post's coverage) — these kinds of killings are just "another tragic accident" or another chance to throw up our arms and say, "Well, whaddya gonna do?"

Well, if you want to live up to the title of New York's Hometown Paper, how about undertaking a multi-part investigation on the failure of the NYPD and local District Attorneys to hold killer drivers accountable (as we have sought to do)? How about running the plates on cars and trucks whose drivers kill (you do know about How's My Driving, right?) and reporting on how the mayor failed to fund a law to punish repeat offenders. Follow up the tragic story of little Sama's death with more reporting — not the tabloid hearts and flowers where you interview the grieving mom and she says how much she misses her daughter. We're talking about grilling the police inspector who let the driver walk without so much as a ticket or Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, who likely won't pursue the case. Investigate whether the Department of Transportation has ignored life-saving street safety improvements on this street.

In other words, do journalism, not stenography.

OK, I'll get off the soapbox now. In other news:

    • Wait, wut? The Post reported (sketchily) that someone on an "e-scooter" hit Mayor de Blasio as he walked in Lower Manhattan (yes, the mayor is sometimes a pedestrian). No one was badly hurt, but still...
    • In a Daily News op-ed, public school parent and journalist Kendra Hurley argued that the pandemic has revealed that kids lack safe biking routes to school. "Most of our lanes are not connected to each other, which means they’re not a reliable means of commuting," Hurley wrote.
    • You won't see this kind of coverage in many U.S. papers, but the Guardian has four ways to inoculate cities against the next pandemic, including bike superhighways, walkable green streets and mixed-use neighborhoods.
    • Citi Bike hit a milestone: one million e-bike rides so far in 2020. That's further evidence that these micro-machines could be a game-changer for commuting in this city, allowing people to go crosstown without breaking a sweat. When, oh when, will the de Blasio administration provide public funding for this form of public transportation — the only major mode of transit that is not subsidized with taxpayer bucks.
    • The Daily News and the Post also covered the pair of fatal hit-and-run crashes on Monday, but neither added much more information than we had.
    • Cops have collared the man who they claim was tinkering with Revel mopeds for parts. (NY Post)
    • If you live near a highway, you don't want the city to go back to (cough, cough) normal. (The City)
    • The Times's Dana Rubinstein did a full takeout on the city's place at this very moment (i.e. the edge of the abyss). Meanwhile, an op-ed by a small business owner dovetails nicely. Bottom line? Let the chain stores leave — and then support the hell out of the real "New York" places. "The city needs to make it easier for the small businesses that choose to remain to survive," wrote Michael Angelo, owner of Wonderland Beauty Parlor.
    • In our rush to praise retired federal transit man Larry Penner in yesterday's headlines, we left out a third story he penned over the weekend: His piece in Railway Age about the "missing" 10th Avenue stop on the extended 7 train.
    • The scintillating blowup at the NYU student-run newspaper, the Washington Square News, reads like a taut digest of literally every argument that is taking place simultaneously in our society right now. (NY Times)

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