Carrying forward the “Who Will Report the News?” theme…
It is “totally awesome” (to quote a favorite member of the extended family) to find a story on the front page of WaPo and a second story on the front page of the Metro section on one day that illustrate the CAUSE of human settlement pattern dysfunction and on the very next day see two more stories in the very same positions in the same paper that document the EFFECT of MSM malfunction.
Let us start with CAUSE on 15 February:
On the front page D’Vera Cohn has a story about “Inner Suburbs Fall Through the Cracks.” We will have more to say about the Brookings study and conference about which the WaPo story is written in the near future but the story (and the reports) provide a stark demonstration of the chaos caused by the use of the Core Confusing Words. (Problem One: failure to use a robust, functional Vocabulary.)
The front page of Metro presents a story by Susan DeFord about Doughoregan Manor titled “When the Past and Future Collide.” Here Geographic Illiteracy is on parade. There is a full color low oblique photo and a location map with the story. These tools document that most of the “where” and “what” elements of the story are pure MSM fiction. (Problem Two: lack of a comprehensive Conceptual Framework to describe human settlement patterns.)
On to the EFFECT in the 16 February WaPo:
The front page story by Steven Ginsberg is headlined: Region’s Traffic: “From Bad to Worse.” This should not surprise anyone but the “solution” is to build more roadways (in this case HOT lanes) to “solve the problem.”
The Metro front page story by Carol Morello features a map that documents that the focus in on a small part of REGIONAL immobility and lack of access.
The real problem is that so long as citizens have an understanding of the New Urban Region based on stories like the two in the 15 February edition, they and their governance practitioner representatives will have no clue about what to do about the lack of mobility and access or the Shelter Crisis.
BTW 1: TAMU’s Urban Mobility Report with 2003 data is out today. We will look at it with care when time allows but it appears at first glance to have the same strengths and weaknesses as the last 20 of these annual reports. (See our column “Spinning Data, Spinning Wheels” 20 September 2004 at BaconsRebellion.) On the “MSM-does-not-know-what-they-are-talking-about” theme, Forbes.com calls the report the “Urban Utility Report.”
BTW 2: It goes without saying perhaps but Jim Bacon’s note earlier on “he said, she said journalism” (with a small, small “j”) is right on and so are the comments on “entertainment” and on the spin we can expect from “news makers.” We deal with the entertainment issue in the section titled “Economic Competition’s Impact on Language and the MainStream Media” in our column “Deconstructing the Tower of Babel,” 12 December 2005.