The Daily Telegraph has once again stretched the definition of “news” to breaking point with three articles today ranting about the City of Sydney’s cycleways, part of their ongoing anti-Clover Moore campaign titled “on your bike Clover”. As many will be aware, I often disagree with Clover Moore, however I still find the vehement attempts to oust her by wealthy vested interests in the Murdoch press to be highly offensive.
The most offensive of the three articles see’s the paper aggressively purporting the opinion that the cycleways should be ripped up. It seemed like a typical Telegraph editorial so I was rather shocked when I noticed a line at the bottom of the print version directing to an editorial elsewhere in the paper (in fact there were two official editorials along with this unofficial one). It seems the opinions of the Telegraph’s reporters count as headline news these days.
One particular cycleway, on Bourke St in Alexandria, is currently being reviewed after the City reached an out of court settlement to do so with a local business manager who had launched legal action against it. The Telegraph were happy to report on the manager’s kind and benevolent attitude in saying “I wasn’t going to play God and tell them to demolish it” but were less keen to give the background to the story.
The legal case was initially intended to be a class action on behalf of 102 businesses, however the lawyers pursuing the case never consulted with most of those businesses before claiming to act on their behalf. Many of them had no idea the action was being pursued in their names and wrote demanding to be removed from the list once they found out. The story from August last year is spelled out clearly here and it’s somewhat curious that the Telegraph thought a business manager “not playing God” and an unflattering photo of Clover in a bike helmet were more newsworthy than the highly unorthodox beginning of the court case.
The Telegraph are asking their readers to make submissions to the City’s review of the Bourke St cycleway, presumably with the hope that they will parrot the paper’s line of “tear it up”. I’d therefore ask that anyone who uses Sydney’s cycle ways, knows someone who uses them or simply appreciates the benefits of being able to cycle away from traffic in a congested urban environment to go to the cycleway feedback page and add a voice of support to counter the anti-cycleway madness being promoted by the Murdoch Press.