Monday, November 16, 2009

Response to Anna Weggle of American Public Media ...

... thanking me for my response to MPR's Question of the Day: How safe do you feel as a pedestrian in the Twin Cities?

Dear Anna,

I do like the Today's Question Feature, this was my first response and also the first time I took a look at the answers posted online. I appreciate having this opportunity to contribute to a public forum.

However, after contributing, reading many of the responses and listening to the responses broadcast I am starting to doubt your editorial objectivity in choosing which responses to air. The question related to how safe pedestrians feel in the Twin Cities, in response to the high rank our metropolitan area received in a nationwide study on pedestrian safety. My sense from looking at the posted responses was that negative replies outweighed those of pedestrians who do feel safe by about ten to one. Many who answered the question did so because they had harrowing experiences on Twin Cities streets. On your broadcast (I do listen almost non-stop), the reverse seemed to be the case. At one point the host of ATC suggested to look online to see some of the negative replies.

I would suggest a more balanced approach to treating listener responses. While I am not asking that you maintain the same ratio of opinions on two sides of an issue, during your broadcast you should at least point out how people differ in their opinions and in what approximate proportions. The way at least this question was treated smacks of boosterism for the Twin Cities, throwing all journalistic objectivity to the wind. Let's leave that job to the politicians and interest groups. Very disappointing, I am not sure whether I will make the effort to contribute again.

Thank you,


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