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The SunRail Slant

     You really have to wonder why the Orlando Sentinel is so blatantly biased in its reporting on SunRail. I can recall very few times when I have seen a mainstream daily paper produce such one-sided coverage of a controversial topic as the Sentinel has on the proposed 61-mile commuter rail system. 
    Cases in point:  The Sentinel ran two section-front “news” stories and a My Word op-ed column on SunRail on three consecutive days this month. The two news reports, on Nov. 11 and 13, were headlined “Legislators close to SunRail deal” and “Confident Dyer says SunRail approval near.” The earlier story began this way: “After two embarrassing defeats, the SunRail commuter train could be on the verge of winning approval in the state Legislature.”
     Embarrassing? How so? And who was embarrassed?
     Both stories sounded similar themes: SunRail supporters thought they had the votes in the Florida Senate to get the liability hold-up resolved in a special session, possibly to be held in early December.
     Only scant reference to SunRail opponents was given in each story, and neither story went into any detail on a new bill that was said to address problems with the liability issue.  Neither story showed any attempt to get a comment from CSX on whether it would agree to pay for insurance coverage or accept liability for accidents caused by its negligence.
     Seat-warming U.S. Sen. George LeMieux’s op-ed piece, “My Word: Time to get rail on track”, on Nov. 12, basically restated arguments that SunRail would relieve traffic problems and provide jobs, possibly even help Florida land $2.6 billion in federal funds to build a high-speed rail line from Orlando to Tampa.
     Not like we all haven’t heard that before in the Sentinel. (And, on the other hand, SunRail wouldn’t relieve I-4 congestion, as the Florida Department of Transportation’s ridership projections show, and many of the jobs it would allegedly create would be in the public sector, meaning another layer of government to support.)   
      The Sentinel definitely deserves the Slantinel moniker for its biased reporting on SunRail.   The daily’s coverage of SunRail is as thin as the reasons supporters give for its benefits. 
      Here are the stories:

Old to new | New to old
Mar 4, 2010 09:03 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

A former employee of the Orlando Sentinel - Marianna Gurnee- is the public information/outreach officer for FDOT on the Sunrail project. This person was (and still is) responsible for going around and building public support for the Sunrail project. I do not recall this former association ever being mentioned in any of the Orlando Sentinel articles or editorials. FDOT has spent substantial public money promoting and marketing this project including public surveys (which included loaded questions) to manufacture public support for the project. This was done before and during the two failed attempts to obtain the approval of the Florida Legislature. Perhaps the association of Ms. Gurnee with both FDOT and the Sentinel sheds some light on the Sentinel's openly biased view of this "black hole" project, then again - maybe not.

One of the key requirements to obtain federal funds for rail projects is to demonstrate connectivity of the public transit systems. Interestingly, there is no connectivity between Sunrail and the proposed high speed rail lines. Yet our federal government ignored this crucial requirement and awarded billions of our tax dollars to build both of these projects. Now the local media (not the Sentinel) are picking up on this snafu and running with it. It really is pathetic that this issue was not touched on by the local press and media until now.

Apr 17, 2012 08:25 pm
 Posted by  abunai

Local media is in the tank with "Progressive" agenda. This project's WHOLE TRUTH never to be put out there. The Gov. did the right thing killing it. We are NOT a dense population area, and rail wouldnt get the use by people, and thus never be self sufficient, and become a revenue sucking program JUST LIKE SO MANY OTHER SIMULAR areas across the nation.

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Mike BosletWriting a bio presents a personality conflict to Mike Boslet. Do I write it in the third person, referring to me as Mike Boslet, or Boslet, like I barely know myself? Or do I take the casual approach, referring to me in the first person? After all, no one knows him (that is, me) better than I (that is, him) do.

What would Boslet do, I ask myself? He would try to write a bio in the first person, after which he would decide there are too many “I’s” in it and start over with the third-person approach. You see, Boslet spent 22 years working on newspapers, where “I” rarely gets past editors. And, by the way, Boslet is an editor as well as a writer, which only complicates things. Columnists and some feature writers can get away with the “I” word, but not reporters. Boslet served some time as a newspaper reporter and in his heart of hearts I am still one.

I think it’s time for Boslet, who’s been the editor of Orlando magazine since February 2008, to break the chains of his newspaper past and write the way he wants to write and not how some people (and you know who you are) would like him to write.

Hence this blog, on whatever he and I want to write about, in whatever way we choose.

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