Sensationalistic Journalism?

I sure think so in regards to the latest article in the New York Daily News’ “Halt The Hike” campaign. The article is about the MTA squandering the opportunity to buy much needed fuel at a substantially lower price before the price of fuel skyrocketed. Here is a brief part of the article courtesy of The Daily News:

Bureaucratic bunglers at the MTA – which now wants a 3.8% fare and toll hike to fill a budget gap – blew a chance to save millions of dollars by not buying fuel before prices soared.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board set aside $150 million in July to buy fuel to be used next year and in 2009.

Staffers didn’t realize until September that a key contract involving fuel delivery was expiring.

By then, the lower-price deal couldn’t be locked in because a new contract would have to be put out for bid, a long process, MTA Chief Financial Officer Gary Dellaverson told board members at a committee meeting yesterday.

Prices have “skyrocketed” since July, Dellaverson said, and the MTA has all but given up on the idea.

Here is the link to the full article.

So what is so sensationalistic about this piece? I’ll tell you, it is the way Pete Donohue,¬† some MTA officials & politicians are using this story to cry how the savings lost could have helped save off any sort of fare hike. Who are they kidding? Do you know the total amount the MTA blew in savings? The total amount is approximately $12 million dollars. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying $12 million dollars is chump change but in the grand scheme of things it sure is. Math was one of my favorite subjects in school & I would like to think my skills are still pretty sharp. Lets test them out shall we….

We have the MTA saying they are facing upwards of a $6 billion dollar deficit in the near future & the savings lost here was $12 million. Last I checked there is just a tiny bit of difference between these two amounts. Just in case I made an error during mental math, I will take out my trusty pen & pad. Lets see $6 billion minus $12 million leaves us $5,988,000,000. So I was right, there is just a tiny bit of difference  between these two amounts!

Seriously lets get real here, I am all for criticizing the MTA for their mistakes as they are deserved. However it is one thing to justifiably criticize them & a totally different thing to unfairly criticize them so you can sensationalize your point. I expect this from politicians who love nothing more than a free chance to get a P.R. boost but I expected more from Mr. Donohue.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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