Monowail -Camille

From Tom Paine to Blogs, the author chronicles the evolution of one-to-many, traditional journalism in the 1800’s to our current age of personal journalistic blogging. Through the reading, I came to realize that bias is a fact of Big Media.

I had long been under the impression that Big Media had an interest in telling the truth without bias. The focus on investigative journalism in the 1960s and 1970s was to uncover the truth that was being kept from the American public. Muckrakers like Woodward and Bernstein made Deep Throat legendary. However, covering the truth does not always sell. For example, the decrease of the crime rate in the 1990s was not noticeable because of the emphasis on sensationalistic news casting. The adage “if it bleeds, it leads,” is still the norm of the day. Even more sinister, we have returned to the times of William Randolph-Hearst where editors have agendas. Randolph-Hearst affected our entrance into the Spanish-American war by riling public opinion. Today, I have experienced the agenda of Big Media first hand.

I am appalled by the lack of balanced coverage in the latest election regarding the Seattle Monorail Project. Having been on the front lines and understanding the gross misrepresentation of the Project facts and its finances, I understand first hand what Big Media agenda can do to public opinion. Did you know that the project never cost $11 billion and even the Times and PI couldn’t agree on their figures? Did you know that the ridership numbers were grossly underestimated by reporters and when their information was corrected it was never reprinted? Did you know that the disputed Motor Vehicle Excise Tax rate which was the basis for Monorail funding was never verified by reporters? Did you know that the tax growth rate reporters used to make their gross miscalculations on funding was based on a tax growth rate model which was developed 30 years ago and has NEVER been published? The Times and PI were challenged on these facts but never printed a single story correcting their mistakes. These two papers have the broadest readership inSeattle but by the very fact that they exist in a two paper town competition for those readers is fierce. Therefore, there is an agenda for Big Media in Seattle. If it bleeds, it sells!

Thankfully, the small, progressive, local papers, like The Stranger (http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=25275), grass roots movements like 2045Seattle (http://2045seattle.org/) and bloggers at Mayor Gridlock (http://mayorgridlock.com/).

It wasn’t a surprise to those who had followed the Monorail movement that the major supporters of the project were progressives who bypassed the traditional journalistic routes to find their information. Born out of the vision of a of a Seattle cab driver, the Monorail movement enjoyed extremely strong grass roots support and still does to this day. But mainstream always eluded the movement. Because of the bias of Big Media the true facts could never be heard. So, supporters like me bypassed traditional journalism. I am utilizing today’s blog as David Winer did to start a dialogue to set the story straight.

You might say the irony in all this is that I have a bias. I gave my life to the Project for the last three years. I was the 20th official employee and I saw the complete development of the Project from the start. However, the blogging medium provides an opportunity for exploration because it is best when it promotes a dialogue. You notice that my words are strong. Yes! I have a lot of passion about this subject but it is also an opportunity for you to share yours. Yelling at the television is a lot less satisfying than if it would respond to your specific complaints. Blogging is certainly more open to dissenting opinions which I think is its true beauty. Yes, I will provide my own reasoned opinion on a subject, but if you want to bring your factoids to the dialogue it is a great forum for discussion. I welcome your thoughts and questions on this subject. If you would like to check out other discussion groups on this subject you might find the following sites interesting:

http://seattlemonorail.blogspot.com/

http://www.monorails.org/

http://www.monorail.org/

http://www.monorailontrack.org/

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Comments

  • Meg  On 21 November 2005 at 7:28 am

    Camille,

    Really excellent and what makes it so is your personal recounting of your experience with the monorail. You have confirmed my amazement at how often the facts are ignored or slanted to serve someone’s agenda. Thank you for taking the time to help explain a complicated issue.

    Meg

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