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

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Opinion

Ah; opinion. Sweet opinion. Everybody's got one, lots of them, about anything and everything. But while everyone is entitled to opinions, however, they are not facts. Otherwise they wouldn't be called opinions.

Kiln Ovendoor the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist has a lot of opinions--talking points, which he keeps using again and again. He's back, using some of his ripest talking points in an opinion piece in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

The Propagandist's reasonable-sounding piece is clearly labeled "Opinion." So it must be true, right? Um, wrong. If Labridor's opinions were true, one would find them in balanced news stories published by legitimate media outlets. Where does he find a welcoming venue for his propaganda pieces? Op-Ed pages, where there is no requirement for balance or even truth. George W. Bush recently "wrote" an editorial in the Wall Street Urinal--but does that mean what he wrote was true? One thinks not.

No mainstream newspapers or peer-reviewed journals will touch Avibore's lengthier screeds, self-importantly called "reports" or "exposes." Those are only picked up by biased pressure organizations. One such is Light Rail Now--an allegedly nonprofit organization that nonetheless takes credit for influencing politics in Minnesota for the benefit of the Minneapolis light rail system. Wanna bet he reposts his IRS-CPRT talking point (H&R Blockhead, sidebar)?
One need not even analyze Kenwood's Santa Cruz Sentinel "opinions" in detail. A quick reading is enough to identify the propaganda and tactics, and recognize that they have all been used before:

Guilt by association: "a platform for anti-transit, pro-highway politicians"; the Olsen domestic assault case
Distraction: lets reader assume failure of PRT legislation was due to PRT, not politics; only mentions the legal (not technology) problems and news blackout of one small company
And don't forget the blog post in which he promotes his opinion piece:
Name-calling: "gadgetbahning Green councilman"; "PRTistas"
Guilt by association: "like Dean Zimmermann"
None of the above points address anything to do with PRT's technical viability: his attacks are based on politics, as well as gossipy, tabloid-like fascination with personalities and personal failings. They are his favorite distractive tactics.

But his biggest deception is that he tries to set up a false choice: you have to pick PRT or LRT, you can't have both. This conveniently ignores the very real situation in Europe. The Propagandist must really hate Europe, because not only does it have extensive and successful urban rail systems, but it is also endorsing deployment of PRT. Not to take the place of trains and streetcars, but as a supplement.

That's probably Avisnore's greatest conceit: if he's right, that means he is smarter than the Euro
pean Union, the BAA company, the Swedish Rail Agency, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, and POSCO, one of the world's biggest steel companies.



gPRT
Ken Avidor is a winged mammal that navigates by echolocation

5 comments:

John said...

Hey, a new post. I've got some time to kill here...

"The Propagandist's reasonable-sounding piece is clearly labeled "Opinion." So it must be true, right? Um, wrong. If Labridor's opinions were true, one would find them in balanced news stories published by legitimate media outlets."

*snorts* Boy, that one really cracked me up. I had no idea that everything I saw in the news was 100% truthful. Or that the major media outlets NEVER gave space to liars and ALWAYS published stories by honest people! By your logic, everyone who's honest would be in a major media outlet!

Now that I think about that, the world doesn't seem to make much sense! I think my head is going to explode!

Typical PRT-loving coots. Bending reality all in the pursuit of your stupid, stupid, stupid little pods.

I feel warm and fuzzy inside. :)

John said...

Oh, and after reading Avidor's full article, I noticed this little bit:

"My advice to public officials and citizens of Santa Cruz is to pass on PRT and look at other towns and cities that have solved similar transport problems with a more tried-and-true transit mode such as streetcars."

He hints at streetcars, but he offers it as a suggestion. Now let's take a look at how you put it:

"But his biggest deception is that he tries to set up a false choice: you have to pick PRT or LRT, you can't have both."

Gosh, what article were you reading?

Admit it, you're full of crap.

Mr_Grant said...

Let's sum up the previous comment:

Avignore partisan parses one paragraph of one Avignore op-ed.
Partisan concludes streetcars are only HINTED at, neatly skipping over years of Avignore's other ultra-pro-light-rail-only writings.
Partisan's fuck-PRT attitude perpetrates the false choice he is denying.

All this is hi-larious! I suggest would-be PRT critics conduct a fuller literature review of the Propagandist before making fools of themselves. The Talking Points are like Cliffs Notes--they don't have everything! --Editor

Mr_Grant said...

John-John wrote:
"I had no idea that everything I saw in the news was 100% truthful."

Did I make that claim? No.

My point, and maybe I shouldn't have been oblique about stating it, is that the mainstream-legitimate-professional press have practices that weed out as much bias and error--as is humanly possible by whichever person/group is doing the practicing. Objective reporting of all sides. Five Ws and the H. Fact-checking.

My point is that Labridor's claims do not survive more than the simplest of such protocols and find their way into news coverage of PRT (interestingly, his views can't even survive the collaborative editing practices of Wikipedia). The only exceptions are when he cultivates a journalist whose final product does not interview all sides (the otherwise admirable Joshua Frank, say) or check facts (a la Troy Pieper). Otherwise, Avismores only gets into print in non-fact-checked LTEs and Op-Ed pieces. --Editor

A Transportation Enthusiast said...

John:

Why don't you come back in a few years when you're old enough to think for yourself, instead of parroting the mindless drivel of the guy who happens to be shouting the loudest?