Fact-Checking the "PRT Boondoggle" Blog
A project of the PRT NewsCenter

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mock Journalist

Regular readers of "PRT Is a Joke Is a Joke" and gPRT's See How They Distort Library are well acquainted with Avidor's record, in terms of his accuracy. He hits his target about as well as Dick Cheney on a quail hunt.

Some readers may be aware that for the last few months Ken has been on the masthead of a certain Minnesota news-site that focuses on local affairs. Mr. Avidor the anti-PRT activist is listed as Transportation Editor.

(We will continue this post as soon as everyone in cyberspace stops laughing.)

In May he posted a story about Personal Rapid Transit, tagged "Special." Which gives one pause: how can an article be a "Special" if it recapitulates inaccurate, disproven, irrelevant and moot things he's been repeating for the last 3 years?

Maybe he means "special" as in "well isn't that special," or "a very special episode of".

And if, as he asserts, PRT has had repeated setbacks over the years, why is THIS year the end of the era? Why not years ago? Why not last year? Oh wait, it was.

Anywho— turning to his latest thrust- er, stab at non-PRT journalism (another "Special"), "Shortage of parking at the Midtown Exchange disappoints bicyclists" (7/5)—what the heck kind of reportage is that supposed to be? It reads like a letter TO an editor, not a story BY an "editor." Content-wise it fails to do what journalists do—ask basic questions:

  • "On new projects, such as the new downtown library, only a bare minimum of racks are being installed." How many is that, under the building code? Which other projects?

  • [photo]"Bicyclist struggles to find a place to park her bike." What's her name? Where is she from? Is she "disappointed"? (Did she sign a release? Where's her helmet?)

  • "We expected to be able to park our bikes on the Greenway and walk easily to the Midtown Exchange." What led them to expect this?

  • "We were shocked to find that there was only a single bike hitch. There were dozens of bicycles locked to trees, railings and to one another." Why is the use of railings and trees unacceptable? Those have been longstanding resources for cyclists. Who were the people with bikes locked together? Were they traveling together? So what did it matter?

  • "We asked a representative of the developer why there was such a disregard for the needs of bicyclists and he said it was the city's responsibility to provide bicycle parking" Confrontational! Excellent interviewing technique. Did he ID himself as an official news "editor"? What was the name of the representative? Is it really the city's responsibility? What does the municipal code say?

  • "Many bicyclists have complained about the lack of parking" How many? To whom did they complain? What were some of their names and stories?

  • "Midtown Greenway Coalition is doing its best to encourage the city to install adequate bike parking on the Greenway." Who at the Coalition said this? What form of encouragement? Why then the confrontational tone with the developer's rep? Why not confront the city? Did he call the city for comment? Why not confront the Coalition—has it been encouraging ENOUGH?

  • Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. Still good questions to ask, by anyone aspiring to do good reporting. Like this, for example.

    Also today: "Moron Mail"
    Don't Miss: his Four-Letter Reply (see third comment, 4:44 pm)
    Plus: And do not disturb at feeding time (4th comment, 8:10 am)

    No Ken Avidor can be built or operated without subsidy

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