Tag Archive | journalism

Countering Rapid Transit disinformation

Yesterday The Record ran a column by Peter Shawn Taylor commenting on the latest Region of Waterloo Rapid Transit report. It contains blatant falsehoods about the Environmental Assessment process, and thus I just sent the following complaint to The Record:

I believe the May 14 article “All aboard? Light rail transit plan is leaving the station way too early” by Peter Shawn Taylor was written in bad faith. It deliberately distorts the data in order to support its viewpoint. To see this, please take a look at page 6 of the Region of Waterloo’s latest Rapid Transit report: http://rapidtransit.region.waterloo.on.ca/pdfs/E-09-056_PREFERRED_RAPID_TRANSIT_SYSTEM2.pdf

Paragraph 4 of the article cites specific numbers about what seem like general meetings, when in fact they were meetings solely for “property owners and tenants living and/or working directly adjacent to the short-listed rapid transit routes”. It is abundantly clear from the information on the report that outreach to businesses was actually very good.

Regarding the general public, that report page states:
-“Rapid Transit newsletters have been sent to more than 250,000 residential and business addresses on four different occasions;”
-“Approximately 3,500 people have attended 33 Public Consultation Centres (PCCs), Workshops and Focused Consultation events and provided 1,039 official formal comments;”
-“Information about the Rapid Transit Initiative has also been provided at an additional 63 different public outreach events such as community stakeholder meetings, public events, presentations to groups, and educational displays where attendance was not recorded.”

The central premise that Peter Shawn Taylor uses in that article to advance his ideological position is in direct opposition to the data he ostensibly cites. This kind of blatant disregard for the truth is unacceptable, but especially so in a newspaper.

[Update, 2009/06/01: It’s been over two weeks, and I’ve received no response from The Record, so I must assume they condone the printing of falsehoods.]

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