Maybe the hardworking staff is just feeling nitpicky tonight, but two weekend Wall Street Journal stories (on consecutive pages, no less) hit us the wrong way.
Mayor Emanuel Says They Would Catch Speeders; Critics See a Revenue Grab
CHICAGO—Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he wants to protect this city’s children by mounting hundreds of cameras around schools and parks to ticket speeding drivers.
But in a cash-starved city with some of the nation’s highest taxes and user fees, not everyone buys his motive. Some see it as another way to extract money from residents. “It’s about revenue,” said Alderman John Arena. Others are concerned that the cameras would pose an invasion of privacy.
The hardquibbling staff is concerned that the Journal piece poses an invasion of sources – specifically this story in Rolling Stone, which cited an even earlier report in the Chicago Tribune – neither of which the Journal credits.
(The Journal’s fig leaf: The Chicago City Council began debating the cameras last week.)
You could say that’s nothing new – one news organization piggybacking on another – but worse that that, the Journal missed the real story, which Rolling Stone noted thusly:
[Emanuel] claimed that traffic deaths had fallen by 60 percent near the city’s already existing cameras that cite people for running red lights. The Chicago Tribune tried to verify the numbers – but City Hall claimed they were “confidential.” They used publicly available source data instead, and found a 26 percent reduction in traffic deaths “that mirrored a broader accident trend in the city and around the nation.” When confronted, a city bureaucrat “acknowledged the claimed reduction in fatalities was based only on an informal analysis of traffic statistics.” “Study’ is a bit of a term of art,” he dodged. “We had many meetings to discuss the best and most fair way to gauge the effectiveness,” he told the Tribune, including a “judgment call” to count fatalities as far away as a quarter mile from red-light cameras. “He declined to say who was involved in the meetings,” noted the paper. “Asked who he meant by ‘we,’ he said he meant ‘the royal we.’”
Lovely. The kicker? The manager of Emanuel’s 2002 congressional campaign consults for the company that will supply the cameras, Redlex Traffic Systems of Australia.
Lovely. No kicker in the Journal, though.
Scott Brown Woos Sox Fans
Republican Sen. Scott Brown has been swinging hard for the Red Sox vote as he seeks re-election in Massachusetts.
On Thursday, the day before the baseball team’s 2012 home opener, the Brown campaign released a statewide radio ad paying tribute to the Sox’ historic Fenway Park, which turns 100 years old this month.
“Families through the years will never forget their first Fenway experience. I know I never will,” Mr. Brown says in the radio spot.
What the Journal failed to remember is what plenty of others didn’t.
This one via boston.com:
Despite a new ad praising Fenway, Scott Brown pushed in 2001 to move the Red Sox to Foxborough
In a new radio ad released today, US Senator Scott Brown wraps himself around the legendary Fenway Park and the celebration of its 100th anniversary.
He heaps praise on the current Red Sox ownership for “improving what we have instead of starting over somewhere else.”
What Brown doesn’t mention in the 30-second spot is that it represents 180-degree turn from the public position he took a decade ago.
Back in 2001, when the Red Sox ownership was looking to relocate the Red Sox, Brown, then a state representative, not only pushed to remove the team from the storied park, but also out of Boston.
From the Journal: “Mr. Brown doesn’t mention his likely Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, in the ads, but other Republicans have been questioning her credentials as a fan.”
GOP politicians, question thyselves.