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More biased PG reporting of automobile events

This topic contains 73 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  rsprake 9 mos, 1 week.

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chrispissingrivers

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Oct 8 2013 at 4:03pm #

I don’t care about what most of this thread is about. The important thing is that human life was marginalized and the way it was discussed here was so detached or misguided that it was upsetting.

And who’s name can you take seriously on here? Certainly not half of the people who post on this thing. Let’s get real.


edmonds59

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Oct 8 2013 at 4:20pm #

chrispissingrivers wrote:I don’t care about what most of this thread is about.

Perhaps that’s it. The thread is about poor journalism and misrepresentation of an event.
Of course the event itself is upsetting. Not the point.


Drewbacca

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Oct 8 2013 at 4:51pm #

chrispissingrivers wrote:I don’t care about what most of this thread is about. The important thing is that human life was marginalized and the way it was discussed here was so detached or misguided that it was upsetting.

That’s your opinion. Frankly, I think it is important to remind everyone as you did, that a life was lost and we should treat that life with respect. The difference in opinion, is that I feel that we have been respectful, to some extent because of your nudge, while you don’t think we were respectful enough! So, you made your point, you expect everyone to bend over backwards in order to meet your personal expectations?

As for the name thing, it just strikes me as a name chosen by someone who is here to intentionally pick fights, my apologies if I am mistaken.


Pierce

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Oct 8 2013 at 5:03pm #

“The important thing is that human life was marginalized”

It’s far more marginalizing to me to look at a preventable death and place blame on passing a cyclist. I get passed by hundreds of people a day and nobody has ever been killed because it. As with the majority of accidents, the actual cause is never reported on, never investigated, and the cycle continues ad nauseum.

She probably died from some sort of blunt force trauma or head injury; an injury sustained at a high rate of speed when a car lost control. Why was the guy going fast? Why did he loose control? Will we ever know? I doubt it.


salty

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Oct 8 2013 at 8:20pm #

it sucks that someone died, and it sucks more that cars kill someone every 15 minutes in the US alone and most people don’t bat an eyelash – or even get defensive if you bring it up.

But, I’m with Pierce, it’s reprehensible for this writer to implicate the cyclist. Think about what it’s like for them to have to read this in the paper and be made to feel guilty for no reason. And, it’s part of a pervasive pattern of not holding drivers accountable for the carnage they cause, which helps ensure nothing will change and all these deaths are in vain.


chrispissingrivers

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Oct 8 2013 at 10:30pm #

This is ridiculous. I’m done.


edmonds59

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Oct 9 2013 at 6:21am #

What I really don’t get is what exactly do you expect? Should we all wear hair shirts, sackcloth and ashes? Pilgrimage on our knees to the site of the unfortunate event?
There are 3 or 4 similar incidents on the news every night. I am sad and upset at every one. Fortunately the vast majority do not involve cyclists in any way.
Also the vast majority are due to driver error. And preventable. So if anyone is interested in stopping the death, rather than simply wringing hands, responsible journalists need to place the cause where it belongs – driver error (desperately trying to keep myself from going all caps).


Mikhail

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Oct 9 2013 at 7:53am #

chrispissingrivers wrote:This is ridiculous. I’m done.

I just repeat:

You really just don’t get it.


byogman

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Oct 9 2013 at 10:17am #

Pierce wrote:“The important thing is that human life was marginalized”
It’s far more marginalizing to me to look at a preventable death and place blame on passing a cyclist.

With respect, but it’s ridiculous compare our feelings here to the feelings of someone who’s lost somebody. We’re annoyed, they’re in mourning. This lack of perspective and proportion, and itching desire to sound off comes off really juvenile and jerky.

And not waiting till the facts are known doesn’t help matters. And implicating the driver, while it makes most sense based on what little is known, is still foolish until more facts come out, and again jerky.

Think about Val’s speculation that the pedestrian hit multiple times from both directions wasn’t looking when crossing. More facts came out that (that the pedestrian was in the freaking crosswalk) made that look exceptionally foolish, and cars drivers are supposed to be the responsible ones in car/ped encounters but when you get down to it, but what made it really awful was the same thing as we’re doing here, blaming a dead person.

Just let it be until the facts do come out. Again, Vannevar did the productive thing, that’s all there was to do.


reddan

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Oct 9 2013 at 10:34am #

And not waiting till the facts are known doesn’t help matters. And implicating the driver, while it makes most sense based on what little is known, is still foolish until more facts come out, and again jerky.

This.

I’d humbly suggest that those covering such events (whether reporters or ‘Net commentariat) refrain from selectively adding information in order to insinuate fault.
Adding observably factual statements like “cyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet” or “driver was elderly” is bad enough…adding comments like “it is unknown if the motorist was sober” or “it is unknown if the cyclist was riding legally” is downright dishonest IMO, even though the statements themselves are technically true.


Drewbacca

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Oct 9 2013 at 10:46am #

In regards to facts, I would like to point out that at least one newspaper article stated that the wreck occurred when the driver swerved to avoid a cyclists riding on the side of the road per the police. I’m not going to go back digging for that article, but it should be noted that the article I’m referring to was either mistaken, or was the only one out of a half dozen to make it clear that the cyclist wasn’t in the middle of the road or anything along those lines.

Some of the reports, not the one in the OP, made it sound even more like the cyclist was the cause of the whole mess… so much so that I question if sensationalism was intentional.

It’s reasonable to question these things. It’s not disrespectful towards the life lost or the injured driver to question these things. I agree with others that there is too little information to start pointing fingers at the driver and implying that he was being reckless and I think a few people jumped the gun (but I still don’t consider it disrespectful). Sadly, no new information has been added in the last ten days.


jonawebb

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Oct 9 2013 at 10:48am #

byogman wrote:Just let it be until the facts do come out. Again, Vannevar did the productive thing, that’s all there was to do.

I’m not on board with V. doing the productive thing. He started this by rewriting the story to implicitly blame the driver — “driving at an unknown speed.”
I don’t think there’s any real bias in the reporting here. The reporter just wrote the story based on the information available, which likely came, ultimately, from the driver. So the story was biased not because of the reporting but because of the nature of the situation. You can’t expect a reporter to fix that.
And I have doubts, BTW, that the facts will come out. Without charges filed against the driver, it’s likely to be settled behind the scenes by insurance companies.


Pierce

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Oct 9 2013 at 11:03am #

“but what made it really awful was the same thing as we’re doing here, blaming a dead person.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the person dead here is the passenger, not the driver. To the extent we allow ourselves to be driven around by unsafe drivers, I suppose we’re at fault for that too, but I don’t think anybody has mentioned that up to this point.

By the time facts come out, if ever, a multitude of people will have already died. What facts exactly do you expect to come out that would change the situation? Did the cyclist have some magic car crashing wand? I mean maybe he swerved out in front of them, but again, if the guy was passing at a prudent and reduced speed, that wouldn’t be such an issue. Heck, maybe we’re wrong here and the guy was only going 25mph, but still somehow ended up off the road when passing.

Are we supposed to just say “Oh, that’s sad. Life is precious” and go hug our family members? The same kind of crap is said after every gun massacre. “It’s too early, we don’t know all the facts.” Yeah, a person used a gun to kill a bunch of people, WTF else is there to know?

I can’t even remember all the bicycle fatalities that have happened in this region this year and I don’t think the facts for all of them are ever going to come to light


reddan

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Oct 9 2013 at 11:06am #

Some of the reports, not the one in the OP, made it sound even more like the cyclist was the cause of the whole mess… so much so that I question if sensationalism was intentional.

I have very few doubts. Sensationalism gets more clicks.
At best, there appears to be an unwritten “manual of reporting style” governing what to say when a cyclist is even peripherally involved; more commonly, it looks like a deliberate attempt to assign blame without obviously violating “journalistic integrity”.


reddan

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Oct 9 2013 at 11:13am #

I’m not on board with V. doing the productive thing. He started this by rewriting the story to implicitly blame the driver — “driving at an unknown speed.”

I’m not Vannevar(duh!), but I took his original post as parody…illustrating how easy it is to twist the reporting of the situation to implicitly blame one party, while under the guise of objectively reporting the facts.


Vannevar

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Oct 9 2013 at 11:22am #

My inclusion of the phrase “driving at an unknown speed” was quite intentional – to show how a writer’s bias appears when pointed in the other direction.

I didn’t say he was speeding. It’s a “we don’t know when he stopped beating his spouse” phrase.

ToBeSure, as they say, there is no knowledge of the driver’s speed, and so it’s literally technically correct to say ‘driving at an unknown speed’. It’s completely irrelevant. Just like the presence of the cyclist. Both of those shadow-weasel-allusions are unwarranted and unjustified.

I wrote in in juxtaposition to the original, to demonstrate how vague innuendo casts shadows, smears, and blame. Which is how they treated the cyclist.

I hoped people would object to the ‘unknown rate of speed’ because I hope it demonstrates the same bias from the other perspective, and perhaps how We identify with and defend Drivers but not Cyclists.

ETA (just saw RedDan’s post which came online while I was typing., +1 RedDan. also, I’m really not Vannevar either)


edmonds59

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Oct 9 2013 at 11:37am #

jonawebb wrote:And I have doubts, BTW, that the facts will come out. Without charges filed against the driver, it’s likely to be settled behind the scenes by insurance companies.

I agree. This is probably the most astute observation here.
The result is that the public memory will likely be left with only the journalist’s most compressed version of the incident: “A Mercer County woman died this morning when the car she was a passenger in swerved to miss a bicyclist and struck a utility pole.” That’s it.


chrispissingrivers

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Oct 10 2013 at 10:45pm #

“What I really don’t get is what exactly do you expect? Should we all wear hair shirts, sackcloth and ashes? Pilgrimage on our knees to the site of the unfortunate event?…Also the vast majority are due to driver error. And preventable. So if anyone is interested in stopping the death, rather than simply wringing hands, responsible journalists need to place the cause where it belongs – driver error (desperately trying to keep myself from going all caps).”

I don’t know you, but based on your phrasing something tells me you were being sarcastic there. Clever. That’s fitting as it falls in line with the majority of the rest of these posts: being part of the problem and not part of the solution.

I get it that we all want equal respect from cars when we’re on bikes. What’s the best way to achieve that? Oh, I don’t know…maybe being respectful ourselves. It’s posts like this that give us all a bad name in the minds of those who don’t ride. It’s posts like this that make drivers say, “I hate bikes,” when they see us out there on the road rather than giving us the space we need. It’s stuff like this that make them come on this very board and post misguided things, bashing us all.

I don’t mean that the general thought of the original post is rotten (we all know that ugly biases are everywhere, not excluding journalism), but showing such little respect throughout this discussion is so counter-productive it’s almost comical. If the shoe was on the other foot how would we act then?

I know there will be posts about the original article being overly-biased, etc. etc. and that that type of behavior can’t go unchecked. I get that. I do. But there are much better ways to do that than to act like this.

And for what it’s worth, we’re all so thrilled that you are able to demonstrate restraint by avoiding the temptation to use all caps. That’s powerful stuff and definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly. Thanks so much.


Vannevar

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Oct 10 2013 at 10:52pm #

I’d like to respectfully suggest that we may be approaching diminishing returns on this topic. My best to you all. Cheers, V.


salty

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Oct 11 2013 at 12:53am #

cpr – the issue I have is your entire argument has essentially been of the “when did you stop beating your wife?” variety. You’ve been accusing people of “lacking compassion” – but that’s based solely on your own assertion, which I don’t believe is actually true.

I think everyone here has tremendous sympathy for Ms. Kodali and her family; I certainly do. The driver (who apparently was her brother) certainly won’t have an easy time dealing with what happened, in addition to whatever physical injuries he may have suffered. I think there’s a good argument that the police should have withheld the details of the crash until their investigation was complete, and/or the paper should have refrained from publishing them. That didn’t happen, but they’re the ones who opened up this can of worms – not anyone here.

As I said before, imagine being the cyclist involved – they were likely traumatized by what occurred, without having to open the newspaper and read this implication that they were somehow at fault. They deserve some sympathy as well, and they deserve to have someone stand up and reassure them and the rest of the world that it was not, in fact, their fault.

So, assuming we’re going to discuss this at all, how do we do it? Could some things have been written more delicately? Possibly, although it’s also possible you’ve read more malice than actually exists – limitation of the medium and all. Repeatedly implying that everyone but you is a heartless asshole is not in fact “part of the solution” either.


edmonds59

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Oct 11 2013 at 6:13am #

^+1


byogman

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Oct 11 2013 at 6:58am #

cpr was not the only one who got an unpleasant vibe reading the comments here. Deep down, I don’t really think anyone here is nasty. But I do think there’s a little less introspection happening about the comments than there ought to be. At guess at this point we’ll have to agree to disagree. But in conclusion, I’ll just heartily agree that it’s wise to note the limitations of the medium. Wiser still to do so before posting.


edmonds59

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Oct 11 2013 at 8:10am #

I’m pretty confident that my opinion of things has not been misinterpreted by the limitations of the medium. Every character I type is very carefully thought through and considered.
The one thing I cannot simply agree to disagree on is the false presumption that any of my opinions of this result from some kind of cycling bias. As I said before, I am a driver as well, I enjoy it immensely, and take it very seriously. I am also pretty confident my opinions would not be substantially different if I had never touched a bike.


jonawebb

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Oct 11 2013 at 9:46am #

edmonds59 wrote:Every character I type is very carefully thought through and considered.

Oh, my.


edmonds59

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Oct 11 2013 at 12:58pm #

?


chrispissingrivers

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Oct 14 2013 at 8:08am #

salty wrote:Repeatedly implying that everyone but you is a heartless asshole is not in fact “part of the solution” either.

That’s not what this is about. I’m sorry if you’re taking this the wrong way but that is not my point. At all. Not in the slightest.

Apparently, we should just forget this whole thing.


rsprake

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Oct 15 2013 at 8:25am #

Here’s another example.

“Man killed in pedestrian accident while walking to wedding”

http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/canonsburg-man-struck-vehicle-dies-pittsburgh-hosp/nbMZG/


Kordite

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Oct 15 2013 at 12:35pm #

“Looks like a pedestrian accident to me. They must have been moving at quite a clip.”


jonawebb

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Oct 15 2013 at 1:57pm #

I’m a little confused by the allegation of bias. Is it because they called it an accident?


edmonds59

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Oct 15 2013 at 2:28pm #

I can’t speak to rsprakes intent, but to me, to call it a “pedestrian accident” is a little strange, and questionable.
“Man hit by a vehicle and killed while walking to a wedding.” Better.


Pierce

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Oct 15 2013 at 3:34pm #

“It’s posts like this that make drivers say, “I hate bikes,” when they see us out there on the road rather than giving us the space we need. ”

If people are endangering lives based on message board posts, they really shouldn’t have a driver’s license.

Respect is a vague and wishy-washy word. I don’t think any of us here thought we were being disrespectful. Sarcastic? Perhaps. But what do you want from us?

I guess you want us to give more slack/understanding to the driver whose actions resulted in the death of another person? As far as I know, at this point, the only person he’s going to be accountable to is himself and the victims family.

But driving fatalities are a national societal problem. Part of the “solution” in my mind is recognizing that and not allowing each incident to sit in isolation unchecked and unchallenged. It’s part of a wider behavior issue of driving unsafely, which again, unless anything else comes to light that states otherwise, is how I’m going to assume this guy was driving


edmonds59

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Oct 15 2013 at 3:47pm #

Pierce wrote:But driving fatalities are a national societal problem. Part of the “solution” in my mind is recognizing that and not allowing each incident to sit in isolation unchecked and unchallenged.

I can be on board with that.


Pierce

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Oct 15 2013 at 4:07pm #

Hey guys, let’s be respectful:

http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/1-seriously-hurt-beaver-county-crash/nbNJb/

Now why was speed listed as a factor here, but not in the other accident?

And speaking of speeds:

http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/pa-senate-leader-seek-new-limit-70-mph/nbLqz/


rsprake

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Oct 15 2013 at 4:41pm #

edmonds59 wrote:I can’t speak to rsprakes intent, but to me, to call it a “pedestrian accident” is a little strange, and questionable.
“Man hit by a vehicle and killed while walking to a wedding.” Better.

This.

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