Last night, "Rock Center with Brian Williams" dipped its toe into the topic of New York City transportation: specifically, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Overall the piece is a fair one, and gives Sadik-Khan plenty of room to answer her critics and lay out her vision for a safer, cleaner, more efficient city. But Brian Williams, who is supposed to be the network's "young," affable anchor, turns into NBC's Steve Cuozzo. Williams tells reporter Harry Smith that he's "drunk the Kool-Aid" when Smith lauds the DOT's efforts, and calls Sadik-Khan "a very powerful woman with an exotic name." Haha, it's mass suicide to support bike lanes! And isn't "Ronald Reagan" exotic compared to "Brian Williams?"
Mayor Bloomberg also gets some face time, and Smith asks him about a "rumor" that Sadik-Khan intimidates him. "I don't think thats quite—I've never heard that rumor before, there's not a lot of truth to that." The mayor then delivers some bad news to bike lane haters: "The way to have permanent employment in my administration is to have the newspapers demand that I fire you. You can rest assure that you'll have a job a very long time." Sure, just ask Chancellor Cathie Black!
Streetsblog has an excellent roundup of what the piece is missing. The biggest criticism? If you're doing a story on pedestrian plazas and bike lanes, it helps to interview people using pedestrian plazas and bike lanes, not people stuck behind the wheel in rush hour traffic.
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