Sunday, March 30, 2008
Advertiser strengthens rail bias
I was curious about the headline All sides of rail debate presented that editor Mark Platte chose for his commentary in the Focus section of today's paper. I'm guessing that the editor, unlike most writers, gets to choose his own headline.
Why, thought I, would an article defending the paper against bias on the choice of a transit technology use the word "rail," instead of "transit?" It reinforces a "frame" for discussion which excludes other transit modalities.
In this commentary, the word "rail" appears exactly 20 times. The word "transit" appears twice, as headlines of other stories referenced. But in the on-line version, there were no jumps to those stories, which would have been nice had readers wanted to check out the other points of view.
Elsewhere in the paper, the report Council to revisit type of transit demonstrates that the choice of technology for Honolulu's proposed transit system is still being debated. There is a chance, however large or small, that there may be no rails ("rail: one of a pair of steel bars that provide the running surfaces for the wheels of locomotives and railroad cars" or "the railroad as a means of transportation: to travel by rail.").
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