14.7.17

WILL LESS INFORMATION LOOSEN PRIORS?

The people responsible for public relations at San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit will not be releasing security camera video of wilding incidents on the trains and in the stations.
[Transit authority director Debora] Allen told us the agency issued an explanation for why it is being tight-lipped about the thefts.

“To release these videos would create a high level of racially insensitive commentary toward the district,” she was told. “And in addition it would create a racial bias in the riders against minorities on the trains.”

According to a memo distributed to BART Directors, the agency won’t do a press release on the June 30 theft because it was a “petty crime” that would make BART look “crime ridden.” Furthermore, it would “unfairly affect and characterize riders of color, leading to sweeping generalizations in media reports.”
It gets better.
[Rapid Transit general manager Kerry] Hamill responded, “If we were to regularly feed the news media video of crimes on our system that involve minority suspects, particularly when they are minors, we would certainly face questions as to why we were sensationalizing relatively minor crimes and perpetuating false stereotypes in the process.” And added her opinion of the media: “My view is that the media’s real interest in the videos of youth phone snatching incidents isn’t the desire for transparency but rather the pursuit of ratings. They know that video of these events will drive clicks to their websites and viewers to their programs because people are motivated by fear.”
Maybe. On the other hand, pretending that the rapid transit is a safe space when it is not doesn't do much for ridership.

Let's say that there's not a lot of reconsideration of priors going on in the comments section.  Even in San Francisco.

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