The fight for political control of Kansas City streets is in full swing and the latest battle is over language used by reporters.

Whilst the family of crash victims probably find little comfort in civic crusades, activists are using recent tragedies to advance their cause and exert influence over the local discourse.

Overall, journalists across the nation are taking notes on their coverage across the nation . . . A recent example:

Columbia Journalism Review: When covering car crashes, be careful not to blame the victim

Locally, here's a local taxpayer and donation funded group making the case for a change in reporting . . .

Bike/Walk KC: Covering the Crash - Local Media’s Role

Money line . . .

"Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities have been increasing since the end of the Great Recession; pedestrian fatalities tend to affect older people and communities of color; and “victim-blaming” has become a common occurrence by the media when reporting crashes."

The list of demands:

1. Calling the crash an accident (particularly when criminality is a factor)

The Associated Press Stylebook eventually recommended “avoiding the word ‘accident’ in cases where ‘negligence is claimed or proven'” following a successful Twitter campaign.

2. Discussing the victim’s clothing

The message that emerges from coverage like this is pretty clear, as the article states: “If pedestrians follow the rules, they will stay alive. If they die, it’s their fault.”

3. Ignoring street design

Reporters missed a good opportunity to highlight such an issue in a pedestrian crash that claimed the life of Lance Shope in south Kansas City earlier this month. The article only mentions the location and states that the vehicle involved, “was heading westbound when a male pedestrian crossed the roadway and was hit.” This ignores the fact that the intersection in question had no crosswalk for a pedestrian to safely cross.

4. Using the passive voice

Perhaps the most subtle of the mistakes made by news reports on pedestrian crashes is using the passive voice, or saying that a pedestrian was hit or was killed while crossing the street. When reporters do this, they omit the errors of the driver that may have caused the crash.

5. Naming the car, not the driver

“Reporters also tend to write about the car, and not the person behind it. They may even give the vehicle a personality when, in reality, it is just a machine.” Consequently, we tend to assign blame to the vehicle.

Activist qualification of these guidelines that puts the system on trial . . .

"The local press of Kansas City, in both print and television, has been a valuable asset to not only helping to spread BikeWalkKC’s overall message, but also in covering crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians. Nevertheless, we need the press to do more to really help to bring attention not just to the victims of these tragic instances, but the myriad circumstances in the built environment that cause these crashes to happen in the first place."

You decide . . .


  1. I can see the snark but actually this is a very good set of guidelines. Media would do well to follow them.

  2. ^^Or what if they don't?

  3. Please prove you're not a robot8/17/18, 10:01 AM

    Teach your freaking bicycle riders to pay attention. They don't own the road.

  4. Phones are the worst thing to happen to transportation since women were allowed to drive.

  5. These are just news laundering instructions for the press, not that they need any more. To paraphrase, stop reporting outside the preferred narrative.

    If a pedestrian or cyclist is partially at fault for the collision, then he or she is not entirely a victim. It is well beyond the media's capabilities to make that determination as part of its immediate news gathering efforts. One hopes, therefore, that the press will ignore this set of new instructions.

  6. If conservatives loved bicycles liberals would want to ban them as too dangerous.

  7. These bike/walk "activists" sure have a lot of "demands" for other people.
    Do they have a set of guidelines for behavior themselves?
    Any that they follow, I mean.

  8. My "give a shit" is broken.

  9. I have seen hundreds of bicyclists break the rules of the road. I've had to slam on my brakes of my "Ram" pick-up to avoid these "spandex" wearing law breakers. They ride side by side at under speed limits, which is illegal for auto drivers. They pay nothing to support the road system. They do not purchase insurance as demanded by the state for automobile operators. They don't pay to register their "vehicles" as auto drivers are required to do. They don't pay attention as they don't have any awareness of people around them. And so what gives these assholes the right to demand anything? Nothing at all.

  10. “Reporters also tend to write about the car, and not the person behind it. They may even give the vehicle a personality when, in reality, it is just a machine.” “Consequently, we tend to assign blame to the vehicle.”

    Could not the same be said about guns? Isn’t a gun just a tool? Aren’t guns being blamed as well? Gotta love them liberals.

  11. Fuck the bike riders.

  12. This is bringing editorializing and opinion into a news article when it belongs on the op ed side. Unfortunately the people pushing this don't understand the difference. four of those five are opinion based, and the first one isn't even an issue.

  13. These bike pushers remind me of the anti auto culture in downtown Portland. Deep down these are hardcore greenies who hate automotive transportation. They would love nothing more than a vehicle less society and they want to shame car drivers any chance they get.

  14. You live in Kansas City. Deal with it and drive a car.

  15. The cyclists are often at fault. Take responsibility.

  16. fat dego ass8/17/18, 3:57 PM

    I love driving fast and talking on the phone.
    It's my right as an american.
    If I kill someone I usually get my drivers license back.
    What a country!

  17. There are plenty of parks, trails, etc. for the cyclists so stay off the streets. I don’t want to throw my Range Rover out of alignment by hitting you.

  18. Distracted drivers are responsible for 87.45 % of accidents. While statistics don’t truly define the cause as texting, reading or responding to a “must” Instagram or Twitter Tweet- bare in mind the social aspects ingrained or indoctrinated in youth today while empowered by the tonnage of modified steel on the road. The first 3 letters of the word CARNAGE seem to signify societies perpetually long non-aversion to socialized media.
    Remember: The media are not our friends and Karma is delivering them their just desserts in lost business models- and their inability to cover the National Crisis of driver inattention while chasing ghosts of hatred in their crapola pursuit of Trump- is why the New Mantra of Fake Journalism rings true.
    Save bikers and don’t buy a subscription to a journalists ability to produce fake news.

  19. Bunch of.. For City Council8/17/18, 5:17 PM

    Vote For A Safe And Automobile Free Kansas City!

  20. Cuomo + Greitens = Love

    Is America great or what?

  21. No fuck YOU 12:56 🖕


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