Saturday, December 10, 2016

On Public Transit (And More)... Stephen Rees Says No Prop Is Good Prop.


Lotuslandian public transit blogger extraordinare Stephen Rees has a bone to pick with the tactics of a certain anti-public transit fellow:

I recently read Jordan Bateman’s book about how he – almost singlehandedly – defeated the transit referendum. You cannot get it from the library or indeed most bookshops except as a print on demand. Amazon has it as an ebook for Kindle, but I am not recommending it. His technique was to stick to two simple statements and two figures. And, the key point, is that it did not matter that they were not true...



Before I get to Mr. Rees' larger point (which I agree with wholeheartedly), I think it is worth noting, in this time of ice bombs being thrown from a certain three billion dollar bridge once again, that the good Mr. Bateman laid a whole lot of Astroturf back in the days of GordCo Inc's ever expanding P3 pavement bamboozlement strategy.

With that said, here is Mr. Rees' kicker:

...We have, of course, now become used to the idea of a post factual political landscape since both Brexit and Trump followed a similar strategy (of pushing propaganda that is not true). And even though it might be effective it doesn’t make it right. The ends do not justify the means...

To which I can only add, as I've said before, in all kinds of contexts, that, in the end, no prop is good prop.

Which is going to be important to keep in mind as the provincial election campaign ramps up in the new year.

So, why are we constantly bombarded by pro-prop-pablum served up cold and unexamined?...Well....Ask yourself the following....When the local proMedia wants an 'expert' to speak on public transit spending and/or planning do they go to folks like Mr. Rees or do they go to Mr. Bateman? (Update: Please see Mr. Rees's comment in threads as well as my response)
Subheader?....'Tis all about doing all you can to put the fix in when the going gets tough...And why do some folks feel the need to do such a thing?...Well, according to one of the greatest tunes of all time performed by a band may not have ever heard of, it just may be that they are missing something from their real lives.



Stephen Rees said...

In fairness to the local "proMedia" in Vancouver, there was a time when they would indeed want me to appear. I did quite a few interviews on CBC TV, Shaw's BC1 and there were some reporters at the local papers who did call me. However, my willingness to drop everything and go to a tv studio for an interview where 90% of what I said never made it to air declined rapidly. I have been also less willing to talk about issues that really ought to be addressed by TransLink themselves. And there are fewer reporters these days since local papers have been sharply curtailed.

RossK said...

Thanks for the clarification Stephen--

I recall those days.

However, their willingness to go to others who have repeatedly demonstrated that they are willing to obfuscate and/or spout demonstrable falsehoods (click on the astroturf link for example) for their 'expert' opinion is, in my opinion, one of the reasons we are in the situation we are in at the moment.


Anonymous said...

is The Tyee the consumer reports of BC media?