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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

If a health reform opponent is a 'deather'...

...Then someone who believes Personal Rapid Transit is a right wing scam must be a Kenner.

Editor's note: We continue beta-testing the change to one of the oldest editorial policies of "PRT is a Joke" IS A JOKE. For a limited time, The Name of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist will be shown -- although special formatting will be used.

What are you supposed to do when you encounter a Kenner? There aren't that many, but they are like the proverbial squeaky wheel. I've heard of Ken Avidor cartoons spamming the inboxes of government officials and journalists in California, New York and Europe.

It may be that PRT companies may be making up their minds to do something about it. One PRT vendor recently put up a web page, titled Why are there anti-PRT bloggers,only to remove it a few days later. The company made the point that it is hard for an anti-PRT blogger to make credible criticisms of a PRT design, because this requires: a) a high level of relevant technical expertise, b) access to proprietary design details about the PRT system, and c) very significant time and money to conduct a thorough study.

In other words, Kenner criticism is made from a position of lacking complete information. Guesswork and fabrication arise to fill the void.

On a list serve, a rep with another PRT company (Vendor #2) felt that it was better to ignore anti-PRT bloggers. On the question "Why are there anti-PRT bloggers," the rep's answer was:
"the topic is a bit of a silly question. The answer is of course because there are also pro PRT-bloggers.... [ellipsis in original] There is balance to everything; if the ratio of pro-PRT to anti-PRT is really 100 to 4, why is it even worth the trouble?"

A US PRT advocate came to a different conclusion:
"There was a time when ignoring irrational criticism was the right approach, back when cranks were limited to handing out flyers and the only way they could get publicity was if you engaged them. That's no longer true. The Internet and search engines expand the crank's reach to, literally, the entire planet. If they are persistent enough, they can become a significant factor in swaying opinion on a far greater scale than the leaflet-distributing cranks of the past. I believe that's happened with PRT, and this one individual has done great damage to the image of PRT in many circles (particularly pro-transit and cycling advocates, two groups who should be strongly supporting PRT)

While we need to pick our opportunities carefully, I think it is important to address the criticism head-on; otherwise it looks like PRT has something to hide. Besides, it is easy to debunk Kenner claims without having to sink to their level. Vendor #1 has done a good job of that.

Of course, I am writing this as Editor of PRT is a Joke IS A JOKE -- so I might be biased.


Kenners call PRT 'Pubic Rapid Transit' because they are so well-infromed.

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