Friday’s Headlines: Hey, NY Times, Your Frame is Broken Edition

Margaret Bourke-White's famous 1937 photo depicts  an era when America was able to make substantive change. Why won't the nation and our city do so now? Because Establishment voices like the New York Times don't necessarily want change.
Margaret Bourke-White's famous 1937 photo depicts an era when America was able to make substantive change. Why won't the nation and our city do so now? Because Establishment voices like the New York Times don't necessarily want change.

We don’t bother with mainstream political analysis very often, so when we’re outraged by a media story, it’s probably something pretty glaring.

Yes, the Times’s deep (yet incredibly shallow!) dive into the mayoral race was, indeed, so glaring that we couldn’t look away. Purporting to preview the June primary for City Hall, the story by Emma Fitzsimmons, Dana Rubinstein and Jeff Mays was clearly built around some editor’s bizarre framing of the narrative the Paper of Record wants to play out over the next six months.

The frame was reflected in this sentence, “For voters, the contest may boil down to a test of priorities: Do they want a mayor best suited to advance the city’s embrace of progressive policies, or someone best qualified to confront its dire economic concerns?”

It’s a false choice because the mayor who embraces progressive policies is, by definition, will be confronting its dire economic concerns. But instead of recognizing that fact, the Times story leaned heavily on the notion that the best candidate will be the one who is strong enough to put aside the childish things on the progressive agenda. The story even dismissed the most progressive candidates with willfully slanted language: “Dianne Morales, a nonprofit executive who wants to defund the police, and Carlos Menchaca, a Brooklyn councilman known for killing the Industry City rezoning …”

Here’s hoping the supposedly progressive, but ultimately quite conservative, Times revisits this false narrative. The only true change in America has occurred during eras of historic inequality — such as at the end of the Gilded Age or during the Great Depression. And as New York confronts just such inequality, we should all be framing the narrative around which candidates are truly agents of change and which are agents of the same system that created this historic inequality.

So if your frame is that a Wall Streeter is “best suited to revive the city’s economy,” you might need to have your priorities examined.

OK, off the soapbox. Here’s the news:

  • The Post followed (and credited!) our exclusive on Council Member Steve Levin’s bill to allow people to rat out illegal parkers … for cash!
  • New Jersey commuters are thankful that someone blew the whistle on Academy Bus. (
  • Bird scooters continued its goodwill tour, this time bringing its motorized micro mobility to Far Rockaway. (QNS)
  • Steve Cuozzo, the ultimate broken clock, opines on city regulations that might hurt restaurateurs. (NY Post)
  • Just as Reinvent Albany has been pushing for a cash infusion for the MTA on the basis of how much of the national economy is dependent on its spending, the MTA is now reminding Georgians to vote carefully in the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs — because millions in MTA spending will depend on the agency getting federal funding (which, hint, the Republicans have been blocking). (NYDN)
  • The Port Authority is going broke because no one is flying. Time to cancel that LaGuardia AirTrain boondoggle. (NY Post)
  • Want to talk to the MTA about the inevitable fare hikes? The agency has posted a list of public hearings. (amNY)
  • The Post showed more sympathy for the one owl trapped in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree than it does for the millions of New Yorkers who experience the same “blaring car horns” that the bird was subjected to.
  • Southern Brooklyn cyclists want the city to close the gap in the greenway! (Brooklyn Paper)
  • Daniel Cammerman
    Daniel Cammerman

    Don’t miss the revolt by city public school parents over how bad remote learning is for many students (as our old man editor told the mayor at a recent press conference). (NY Times)

  • And, finally, save the date for StreetopiaUWS and Transportation Alternatives’ short, family friendly ride on Saturday, Dec. 5 (rain date, Dec. 6) to keep the pressure on the Parks Department and the Central Park Conservancy for safe, direct cross-park bike paths. The 11 a.m. ride is meant to mark the one-year anniversary of the Dec. 18 death of Dr. Daniel Cammerman (above right), who was killed by a driver as he rode a bike on a park transverse, which many cyclists use because there is no easy way to cross the park on a bike.


Petition: Support a Climate Bill That Invests in Green Transportation

At the end of March, representatives Henry Waxman and Ed Markey introduced an ambitious federal climate bill. This is the real deal — the legislative centerpiece of President Obama’s effort to combat global warming. Transportation contributes about a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., so any climate bill will have to green […]

NYPD Tow Pound is Still a Major Source of Greenway Danger

As Transportation Alternatives recently noted in an essay for Streetsblog, more than a year after the death of Eric Ng, the alphabet soup of government agencies responsible for the Hudson River Greenway, have done almost nothing to fix glaring safety  problems along New York City’s most important bike route. Photographer and bike commuter Lars Klove […]

If Crowded Old Airports Are “Un-New York,” What Are Crowded Old Trains?

Andrew Cuomo’s big infrastructure announcement with VP Joe Biden today was, if nothing else, a tidy encapsulation of how little the governor cares about the big problems facing New York’s transportation systems. For days the governor’s office had been hyping his appearance with Biden. Was Cuomo finally about to tell New Yorkers how he’s going to modernize the trains and buses […]

Will the Tide Turn on City Parking Policy?

 A few weeks back Atlantic Yards Report posted a compendium of recent writings that point to the contradictions inherent in, and problems resulting from, parking requirements for urban development plans. Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s much-praised PlaNYC 2030 contains a glaring omission, a failure to address the antiquated anti-urban policy that mandates parking attached to new residential […]