Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Examiner censors comments

(Gabrielle Lurie/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Photo: Gabrielle Lurie

Gee, was it something I wrote? When the Examiner apparently refused to post one of my comments---below in italics---to a story the other day, I sent the message below to several of the editors:

Odd that whoever decides such things refuses to post the comment below that I made to one of your recent stories (Raised bike lane plan scrapped for Polk Street). 

Seems like a relevant response to the story. Is there some violation of your guidelines here that I'm not getting?

Rob Anderson

No response![Later: They finally posted my comment, though it's not clear when they did. The story I commented on was published on Feb. 6, and it hadn't been posted when I did this comment on Feb. 9. Delaying posting comments for several days is the same as not posting them, since most readers have moved on by then. Still curious about the reasons for the delay-based censorship. Apparently the editors at the Examiner don't want to discuss it.] 

The other day I all but accused the Chronicle of being a house organ for City Hall, but I could have made the same claim about the Examiner's political coverage. 

Since it had no obscenity or personal attacks, it must be the contents of the short, rather wonky comment that the Examiner finds offensive: That is, nothing the bloated SFMTA says can be accepted on faith, especially when it comes to traffic accidents and bike lanes. Why would the editors think that was something they didn't want to publish? (When you visit the Disqus site that has all my comments---even the one that was blocked---you can see that I tried twice to post the comment, which is now tagged as "pending." Apparently it will be pending forever.)

My comment links the MTA's now regrettably defunct, informative Transportation Fact Sheet and that Government Compensation in California site that lists city departments, the number of employees they have, and what they are paid.

But over the years I have hammered the Examiner almost as much as the Chronicle. Since the story I tried to comment on was about Polk Street, maybe it was my deconstruction of the Examiner's fact-free editorial on Polk several years ago that still rankles (Examiner: "Let's start with the facts" on Polk Street).

Or maybe it was (Broke-Ass Stuart and the dumb-ass Examiner) about the bogus scandal the Examiner was pushing that supposedly incriminated Mayor Lee. Maybe they don't like to be called dumb-asses. Or maybe it was The Examiner and District 5, wherein I called both the Examiner and the Chronicle "worse than useless" covering local issues, particularly District 5 issues.

The only Examiner reporter I've singled out for special abuse is Joe Rodriguez for his stories on Masonic Avenue that read like press releases by the MTA and the Bicycle Coalition.

At least Streetsblog told me when I was banned from commenting there several years ago. The reason they gave was bullshit, but at least they were out-front about it.

City journalists simply accept on faith what the city says about safety on Polk Street. Instead we need to know exactly where and why accidents happen there. The MTA uses the phony safety claim to justify taking away all that street parking to make bike lanes on Polk Street and on Masonic Avenue.

Meanwhile, the MTA has stopped publishing its annual Collisions Report and the Transportation Fact Sheet, limiting the independent information people have about our transportation system, including how much money the city makes by targeting everyone who drives in the city:

Since the MTA now has 6,263 employees, surely it can spare enough people to analyze every injury accident on city streets to learn how/why those accidents happened and how we can prevent them in the future:

And, importantly, then publish that information so that the public can understand what is really happening on our streets.

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