what news media gets wrong

Beth Osborne, Director of Transportation for American (T4A) tweeted on July 20 about what news media gets wrong about crashes involving walkers and bicyclists. She solicited more ideas, and the ideas have been flowing! After just two days, there are 135 comments, 326 retweets, and 2026 likes.

I had assumed that the topic of news media bias and deference to law enforcement victim blaming was a niche concern, but apparently not. The diversity of people commenting is surprising but hopeful, and the list of things news media gets wrong could fill pages. Not that every media article is wrong, or that all parts are wrong, but the consensus seems to be that news media is more wrong than right.

I contributed my own two cents:

  • It is true that most law enforcement officers have a strong bias against bicyclists and walkers, and so what they say should be taken with a grain of salt, if not discounted entirely. But reporters usually treat LE with deference rather than challenge.
  • Almost all reporters simply repeat what the law enforcement officer or PIO or news release said. They rarely go to the scene to see what it actually looks like. I realize that not all crash locations can be visited, but current practice is none of them are.

But I really encourage you to follow this tweet thread to see how many ideas there are from so many people of different backgrounds.