Support BikePortland

An apology and other thoughts on that story

Posted by on April 3rd, 2013 at 11:35 am

I’m not even sure where to begin about what happened yesterday.

First, I want to say that I am deeply sorry for jumping the gun and choosing to publish that story prematurely. The impact of my actions have proven to be far greater than anything I intended. I got caught up in the story. As I was working on it I thought I was doing the right thing. But now it’s obvious that I wasn’t. I messed up and my mistake hurt the people involved and it has caused a lot of concern and anger from many people in the community.

Yesterday, caught up in the storm of the situation, I defended my story and my actions against what I thought were unfair and uninformed criticisms. That defense only added to the storm. As an extremely confident person, especially when it comes to BikePortland (if I wasn’t, the site would not be what it is today), regular readers know that I often go to great lengths to defend my reporting and my editorial decisions. That’s what I did yesterday before I fully realized the consequences of my initial mistake.

Part of that realization came when I got a call from someone at the Portland Police Bureau whom I respect and whom I’ve worked with on several occasions over the years. That person, who now works alongside Chief Reese, was disappointed that I didn’t call him first and ask about the allegations. He also said that Capt. Chris Uehara, the person my story presented as the alleged cop, was hurt by what happened. After that call, I wrote to Capt. Uehara and expressed my sincere apologies.

Moving forward, there are two major pieces of the fallout from my actions that I want to specifically address: 1) How can you be confident in my work in the future and how can I assure you this will never happen? and 2) What is my response to the racial component of the story.

First, anyone who knows me (either personally or through this site or both), knows that I am constantly checking my gut, that I am open and accepting of criticism, and that I am constantly learning how to this job better. I can assure you that this experience has left an indelible impression on me. It’s a stinging reminder that I must never forget the immense responsibility I have.

As to the racial component of this story, that is something that never crossed my mind until others (rather immediately) pointed it out. Why would the racial component be so apparent to others when I myself, staring at it in the eye, didn’t think about it at all? Am I racist (as some people allege) because I wasn’t sensitive enough to handle the story differently based solely on the fact that the two men were of Asian descent?

I am still struggling with those questions. I think the answer to the first one is the concept white privilege. I acknowledge that is a factor. As a white male — and especially as a white male advocacy journalist with deep ties to the community — I need to do a better job being proactively aware and sensitive to race. That is difficult for someone like me who was raised to be color-blind (that was the central tenet of “multi-culturism,” a strong theme in the curriculum of my southern California primary and middles school). I have to re-train myself to see race and to understand its role in shaping our city and the issues I cover*. I know from my experience during the North Williams Avenue project that race is not an easy topic to engage in; but I am open to the challenge.

I know this post does not address every issue this story has brought to light; but I hope my thoughts are helpful.

As always, I’m open to your feedback…

P.S. You might be interested to read more thoughts on the story by Jess Hadden, who was on the Veloprovo ride.

*UPDATE: This line about “seeing race” has confused some people. I will not try to explain it further because my experience these last few days has shown that whatever I say will be misunderstood and taken out of context. I just want to let folks know that it’s not accurate to think that I am completely oblivious to a person’s race and what that means in a larger societal context. Thanks.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

206
Leave a Reply

avatar
80 Comment threads
126 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
96 Comment authors
longgoneCalebarespare_wheelSo over hipster racism Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Dan Christensen
Guest
Dan Christensen

You are the best, don’t stop being fearless in your reporting. This type of error is rare in your history and we all make mistakes. Keep pushing forward.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I look forward to learning from mistakes and to the future of bikeportland. Blogs, e-mail, the internet all seem to lend themselves to–even invite–a certain degree of hastiness. I know I have to remind myself–often–to slow down and give the just written more consideration. I think you, Jonathan, generally do an admirable job at that.
Putting as much of yourself out for all to see and criticize as you do is a whole lot more than we get from, say, Oregonian or Willamette Week reporters. Consequently I feel a much greater degree of accountability here at bikeportland than from other news outlets, which doesn’t mean mistakes don’t get made, just that this kind of mea culpa is part of a collective processing that is important and gives us all opportunities to learn from missteps together.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

I heartily agree. You show courage, Jonathan, in your approach to this work, and especially in today’s post. Evolve, and carry on.

Esther
Guest
Esther

Thank you Jonathan. I know that this was probably hard to write and that this experience has been super hard for you AND (more importantly) others affected by it. Like Capt. Uehara. Generally I love when you post and update developing stories and you generally do so professionally and appropriately. So, the choice was a mistake this time. I have seen people calling for your head or conversely, standing up for your character and work. I think your character & work speak for themselves, and if you continue to leave the door open for dialogue & learning that will contribute to that.
I think it is worthwhile linking to Jess Hadden’s public apology as well, for people who haven’t seen it.

sabes
Guest
sabes

As punishment, maybe you should be forced to do 100 hours of journalism training.

Concordia Cyclist
Guest
Concordia Cyclist

Journalism training? Uh, that died back in the 80s along with newsroom budgets.

esther c
Guest
esther c

Compared to The Oregonian for example. Jonathan actually leaves his desk and attempts to do the 5 w’s of journalism. Unlike most modern journalists who are really stenographers, releasing whomever has their ears press releases.

His mistake here was not checking and verifying his story. But at least he had a story. Sure beats the Oregonian. Or even CNN.

And when he did get his facts wrong, he followed up and correct himself on his front page, not buried in some footnote somewhere.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

sabes,

My journalism training happens every day on this site. You and other readers are like my journalism school teachers.

chucklehead
Guest
chucklehead

It’s also an overly sensitive group, so don’t get caught up in that either.

KD
Guest
KD

I would have to agree Jonathan. I don’t believe you’re racist – you’re a publicly read blog that sometimes is read and reacted to by hypersensitive people.

Don’t let this alter your journalistic integrity – you do very good work. If some people are offended, that’s their problem.

Chazdemo
Guest
Chazdemo

“Overly sensitive group?” Nice, real nice….

paul g.
Guest
paul g.

Jonathan, if you believe that then you haven’t fully learned from this incident. The readers at best are checks, critics, and informants. At their worst they are interested activists trying to manipulate your coverage. Ths goes for any media outlet, but as one so close to the activist community, you may be especially prone to such influences.

This story, and your reaction the next day, provides some illustration. I for one was struck by how little you (or your readers) considered the impact on the PPS or the officer involved.

I think you show the desire, ambition, and sensibilities to follow the credo and standards of investigative journalism. But doing so may require you to pull yourself out of your stories in ways that you may not ultimately be comfortable with.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

paul g,

My readers are all those things. Teachers, critics, informants, friends, foes, and so on.

As for the impact on the PPB officer. I have reached out to him and he has accepted my apology. In fact, I am meeting Capt. Uehara today at the precinct.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

I still plan on checking this blog five times a day, much to the chagrin of my employer, because it is by far the best transportation journalism occurring on my neighborhood, my city, my state, and often my country.

Passer Fu
Guest

I won’t accept this unless there is a P.S. Sorry to WW and Andrea Damewood, blaming her constantly for the uproar and saying it is her fault and she misrepresented you, when it was all your doing and your writing, is not okay ever. You were locking comments, taking down the blog, making silly allegations, stop blaming others and appologize to them also!

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Passer Fu,

I have no reason to apologize to Andrea Damewood. In my opinion her story was purposefully inflammatory and it did not accurately represent the situation at all.

Also, I never “blamed her constantly” nor did I ever say anything was her fault beyond the many people she influenced with her story. Notice her name was never mentioned in the post above. I take full responsibility of my role in this; but I feel her story unfairly represented my actions.

Thanks for the comment.

t-b0ne
Guest
t-b0ne

*thumbs up* 🙂

longgone
Guest
longgone

Steadfast JM should be producing his blog. Rare it seems, those who criticize him offer an alternative. That includes myself at times.

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

Thank you for writing this, Jonathan.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

Mistakes happen and that always sucks, but owning up to it and learning from your actions is the true test of a professional.

I still think you’re tops!

Dan Kaufman
Guest

Here, here!

JNE
Guest
JNE

An unfortunate hazard of being a journalist in a world of light speed communication … but I think most agree that Bike Portland (Jonathan) was blue ribbon, straight up, and acting in good faith from the start.

Two hearty thumbs up!

chucklehead
Guest
chucklehead

The bike community is an especially sensitive group to begin with….and often will see things when they do not actually exist…re: your “racism”.

steph routh
Guest
steph routh

Thank you very much, Jonathan. It takes courage to write something this vulnerable. I have learned from you today.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Slum it with an easy, attention-grabbing story “lead” from a bunch of hack amateur activists and you get burned. Live and learn I guess.

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas

Yeah, stay away from those activist types. What are they trying to do, make a better world or something? Keep head firmly in sand and narrow focus as to not upset anyone.

Aaronf
Guest
Aaronf

No! Just stay away from those activists who are hacks and amateurs.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Nice interpretation. Viva la revolution!

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Nicholas,

I don’t intend to “stay away from those activist types”. I respect the people that participate in Veloprovo just like I respect you.

jeremy
Guest
jeremy

Thank you for the apology JM. I think your honesty and introspection speak well the first issue you mention–can you be trusted. I will continue to read your work and I believe you will be more aware in the future. On the second point, the issue of race, again I appreciate your honesty and candor–while blanket terms like “racist” tend to stop conversations, your understanding of the role bias (even unintended) plays in your perspective will help reduce its impact on your writing/reporting. We all come to this moment as a collection of our past experiences–INCLUDING–our biases both positive and negative. The only way through them is through acknowledgement and awareness. Good for you to own this.

Timur Ender
Guest
Timur Ender

Stay strong Jonathan, you are a hell of a journalist!

Oregon Mamacita
Guest
Oregon Mamacita

You know, the more you interact with a group, the less they all look alike.
We know this from studying eye witnesses.

The bicycle evangelists are mostly young white males. Earlier this year
many readers of this blog jumped all over a woman of color who blogged about using bikes in her large household.

You’re not racists- but you are not as enlightened as you think. Don’t be so smug about “smart growth” and bikes- maybe we could find some common ground.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

“The bicycle evangelists are mostly young white males.”

As a white male whose only privilege has been a Y chromosome and light skin (way too white) your statement on the composition of our advocacy groups nails the problem spot on.
With real diversity in the group this whole situation could have been avoided.

Alas many groups like this, I can’t say this one in particular, are exclusive not inclusive. Combined with the “white male lens” of seeing “the other” as a threat 1st and we see where this mess came from. It also points to exactly how it will happen again

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Oregon Mamacita,

Thanks for the comment, but it doesn’t sound very enlightened to me when you say “the bicycle evangelists are mostly young white males.” That is absurd and unfair and it’s a statement based on harmful stereotypes. People that care about bicycling cannot be put into any box. The is an infinite number of opinions, advocacy styles, and ways that people relate to bicycling. Trying to paint “bicycle evangelists” with one big brush is not helpful at all.

Please keep that in mind. Thanks.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Hear, Hear.

Esther
Guest
Esther

I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with this one. When I go to advocacy events, white males are disproportionately represented. Sure, I might disagree with the “young” qualifier-plenty of old white guys in power. And of course, it’s not uniformly true for every event. But please, start looking around. Like at your own wonk night, which I attended, and at which women were well represented (through maybe not 50%) but POC definitely were not. At which a leader of a local advocacy org referred to congresspersons’ “wives and children” and no one said anything.
I’m not saying that event, or your site, cause that imbalance. Itscultural and governmental. but theres a reason you have to cover groups like Ccc! Please dont pretend it doesn’t exist! Add please don’t minimize people who say that iy does.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Esther,

My contention with the commenter was with the generalization. I fully acknowledge that many people involved in bike advocacy in this town are white and whites are over-represented in some of the sub-cultures. My issue with the comment was the tone which I thought was painting with much too large of a brush.

Esther
Guest
Esther

I agree that it wasn’t so productive. But if you don’t like her tone, I recommend not stooping to that level by throwing back at her her words you don’t like (I’m guessing the jib about “enlightened” would be one example of something dismissive/sarcastic) and actually respond to the substance of her argument. Frankly I feel like this whole big issue kinda comes down to forest vs. trees.

longgone
Guest
longgone

For FOOKS sake MAggie! If you find her tone unproductive, why can you not point it out yourself, and quit treating JM like a Catholic school marm? It was obviously a baited statement, and I am sure is brain is tapped out after all this malarky. Last word… go for it….

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

Jonathan,

If you can’t see that “The bicycle evangelists are mostly young white males” is not a stereotype or a generalization but rather a statement of fact then I’m afraid you still don’t understand the problem you have with race.

Have a conversation with some people (including people of color) about the composition of the bike evangelist community, or maybe go to a few events and count the number of people of color. You’ll see that the crowd is disproportionately white.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

cyclist,

like I said in my reply, I know full well what the racial makeup is of the community around bicycling in Portland. I have worked in the community in many many facets for eight years now.

what even are “the bicycle evangelists”? That phrase means nothing to me. I know a lot of people in town care deeply about bicycling and work to make it better but I don’t appreciate at all an attempt to stereotype them as “the bicycle evangelists.” My problem with the comment isn’t about race it’s about the tone.

Saying that the crowd of people regularly at bike events it disproportionately white is totally obvious. I would not refute that at all. If the original commenter would have said it like that than I would not have responded to their comment the way I did. I hope I’ve been clear. Thanks.

longgone
Guest
longgone

cyclist, I propose there are far less “cycling evangelist’s” in P-town than “cycling Satanist’s”…and that may be a good thing.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

I’m going to quote EXACTLY what you said:

“Thanks for the comment, but it doesn’t sound very enlightened to me when you say “the bicycle evangelists are mostly young white males.” That is absurd and unfair and it’s a statement based on harmful stereotypes.”

So what do you think is absurd and unfair about her statement?

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Perhaps the fact that she said bicycle “evangelists”?

Chris Mealy
Guest

Nobody’s perfect!

sabes
Guest
sabes

Isn’t that what Jeffrey Dahmer said?

Donna
Guest
Donna

Jonathan, this is why you have my deepest respect. When you make a mistake, you acknowledge it, you take ownership, you apologize, and you do what you can to make amends. I don’t know who could ask for more than that. If only other journalists and even politicians would take your lead.

blind
Guest
blind

That’s not quite true…

He apologizes sometimes, but usually turns off the comments on the story (see Marcus Griffith and Williams reporting debacle).

He wants the public engagement when it’s favorable, but not when it’s critical of his methods.

He should take his licks. After initially turning off comments on the original story here, he seems to have come around to open public engagement, so perhaps there’s some improvement occurring.

There are some structural problems with the Bike Portland enterprise. He’s a one man army and the people who work with him closely don’t seem to remain engaged for more than a year (Ellie Blue lasted a little longer). There’s a revolving door of correspondents, and it’s similar on the tech/website side as well; an agency or individual will want to help, but it doesn’t seem to last. Not much staying power.

I think Jonathan should look at what Michael Anderson is doing with Portland Afoot, particularly how he’s really building a team around him. He’s been much more savvy about his enterprise and has kept his journalism really tight. He’s guided by a board, and seems to be progressing against a plan.

One last point. An admission of white guilt provides no solace and is unattractive. He doesn’t get to play the race card in reverse. The kvetching over whether he might have latent racism is juvenile. If he’s saying “maybe I’m inherently racist” then he’s lost in the reeds. Listen to people and try to hear what they are saying and try to empathize with where they are coming from. That’s all that can be done. He can’t absolve himself of the validity of his own perspective. Instead he should attune himself to it, and try to understand that everyone sees through a glass darkly.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

He apologizes sometimes, but usually turns off the comments on the story (see Marcus Griffith and Williams reporting debacle).

It’s not true that I “usually turn off comments.” Do you read this site regularly? I do not regret turning off the comments on this story or any story in the past. I do it based on my own judgment of how the conversation is going. With over 200,000 comments approved I have a good sense of when the time is right to turn off comments. I’ve probably done it only about 3 times in 15,353 posts.

He wants the public engagement when it’s favorable, but not when it’s critical of his methods.

That is not true at all. I’ve approved hundreds if not thousands of comments critical of me of the years. I have no problem with criticism but I do not tolerate meanness, personal insults, snarky innuendo, and so on and I reserve the right to moderate comments as I see fit. This is my business and these comments are a part of that business so I take this very seriously.

He should take his licks. After initially turning off comments on the original story here, he seems to have come around to open public engagement, so perhaps there’s some improvement occurring.

Thanks. I am taking my licks.

There are some structural problems with the Bike Portland enterprise. He’s a one man army and the people who work with him closely don’t seem to remain engaged for more than a year (Ellie Blue lasted a little longer). There’s a revolving door of correspondents, and it’s similar on the tech/website side as well; an agency or individual will want to help, but it doesn’t seem to last. Not much staying power.

I agree! Absolutely. I have not been good at all about building a team and I need to figure out these “structural problems.” I am working on that but I think it’s a lot harder than you realize. I have to constantly work on creating content and it leaves very little time for anything else such as strategic planning, business development, team building, and so on.

I think Jonathan should look at what Michael Anderson is doing with Portland Afoot, particularly how he’s really building a team around him. He’s been much more savvy about his enterprise and has kept his journalism really tight. He’s guided by a board, and seems to be progressing against a plan.

I’m already looking at what Michael is doing. I’m really impressed with how he has slowly but methodically built his business. It’s the polar opposite of how I built this business. But keep in mind we are completely different animals. BikePortland is a daily news blog run by a private corporation that I run. Portland Afoot is a monthly print product with a website companion that is set up as a non-profit (hence the board).

One last point. An admission of white guilt provides no solace and is unattractive. He doesn’t get to play the race card in reverse. The kvetching over whether he might have latent racism is juvenile. If he’s saying “maybe I’m inherently racist” then he’s lost in the reeds. Listen to people and try to hear what they are saying and try to empathize with where they are coming from. That’s all that can be done. He can’t absolve himself of the validity of his own perspective. Instead he should attune himself to it, and try to understand that everyone sees through a glass darkly.

Thanks for this. I am not playing any race card in reverse. I do listen to people and I do empathize with them but yes, I can always be more attune and more sensitive and more aware of race and the issues around it.

I think one of the tricky things with this whole situation is that I love debate and argument and part of that is me defending my perspectives my stories, and so on. However, when a situation involves race (whether I bring it up or others do), this defense and debate rubs people the wrong way and it comes off as me being insensitive. I have to figure that out and handle it better in the future.

Thanks again for your comment.

Cullen King
Guest

Hey Jon,

Completely aside from this whole debacle, I just want to commiserate with you on the difficulty of being a one-man enterprise. Even with two people running RWGPS, Zack and I constantly find ourselves running in circles putting out fires, neglecting important stuff like business development, partnerships and others. It’s a tricky balance, but you figure it out eventually. You definitely do good work, so don’t let that beat you up 😉

Another thing people don’t often realize, one of the core reasons we start an enterprise in the first place rather than work for someone else, is it’s easier to be your own boss and not responsible for or beholden to others. Yes, having additional staff is nice, but it’s often just not possible at any given moment to give up the 2 months it takes to get them up to speed. Instantly productive partners/employees/help are very very rare, everything else takes a ton of effort (but if the gamble pays off, is worth it in the long run). Oh, yes it’s a gamble because that 2 months wasted might really be completely wasted if you make the wrong choice.

Keep on keepin on,

Cullen

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

If this had happened in the Oregonian this retraction (if they had ever even addressed it) would have been buried in their version of “Page 2”, not on the front page.

sabes
Guest
sabes

If this would have been in the Oregonian, every commenter on this site would be flaying them alive and calling for them to shut the paper own. They would have wanted them pilloried and ran out of town.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

This did not happen in the Oregonian. We can’t possibly verify or disprove your claim.

ed
Guest
ed

At your “worst” Jonathan, you are far more objective in your reportage and representation than any other local news source I can think of. It’s admirable and courageous of you to hold yourself publicly to such scrutiny; I only wish other sources were anywhere as self-aware on such matters.

I’m certain you would have approached the issue the same if the mistaken identity individual would have been a WASP sort of looking person too. And though this instance was in error, let’s not forget that infiltration/surveillance of groups with alternative political views by local law enforcement agencies across the nation is quite common, especially in the paranoid post Patriot Act world we live in. While this turned out not to be the case and perhaps reportage was a bit premature, it’s not like the premise or possibility was wild or implausible. Don’t let it inhibit you from asking tough questions and looking under rocks in the future 🙂 We all owe you LOTS here in Portland.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Amen, and Hear, Hear !

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

You did the right thing in issuing a heart-felt, in-depth and sincere apology, Jonathan. It’s likely you’ve already put plenty of thought into the following question, but I’ll pose it anyway.

I’ve seen previous comments from you that lead me to believe you see your role not as a journalist, but as an advocate/informer/blogger, which removes you from generally accepted journalistic standards.

It’s pretty clear from the comments above, and the degree that you’re cited as a source of credible information on all things cycling related in Portland, that it’s a widely held view is that you are indeed a journalist.

I truly cringed when I read your initial story, as it was evident you hadn’t done an adequate job of fact-checking. I’m not going to guess as to what your motivation was for running the story, but I like to think that I know you well enough from reading you these many years to assume that your intentions were honorable.

You’ve done a wonderful service, codifying the growth of cycling in Portland. I admire how you’ve grown BikePortland into the great source of news and information that it is. But it may be time to reconsider whether or not the methods that you’ve used to develop the site are still serving you well?

My hope is that moving ahead, you’ll rely less on your gut instincts, and more on a stricter code of journalistic standards. I think it will only help to burnish your credentials. Being first to break a story is of no value, if it turns out that the information isn’t credible. Better to take the time and get it right the first time.

Finally, thanks for BikePortland!

Unit
Guest
Unit

Everyone makes mistakes. Only the righteous own up to them.

Ed Dalton
Guest
Ed Dalton

Well said and well done, Jonathan.

Mike Cobb
Guest
Mike Cobb

Well, I speak from a place of white privilege with unknown amounts of unconscious racism, so who knows what I know. That being said, I cannot wrap my head around the labeling of J. Maus as a racist. To be bold, fast, and confident are necessary for BP’s far-reaching power. A certain small number of mistakes should be expected, as perfect is most definitely the enemy of bad in this case. The way the mistakes are handled is key. Jonathan- the humility and respect for justice that your occasional corrections demonstrate only bolsters my loyalty.

And that anyone has a little Portland police paranoia is far from surprising. (I finally saw “Alien Boy” last night, effectively ramping my distrust.)

Mike Cobb
Guest
Mike Cobb

Perfect is the enemy of good.

pengo
Guest
pengo

And platitudes are the enemies of progress.

Mike Cobb
Guest
Mike Cobb

zing!

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

My only feedback would be, the original article’s HEADLINE here on Bikeportland STILL states the man on the ride WAS an undercover cop. This needs to be changed, stat. Many people only skim headlines, especially in RSS feeds, and the headline is pretty defamatory.

caryebye
Guest
caryebye

Jonathan, I’m relieved to see this public apology. It’s really hard not to go in defense — when something like this happens and yesterday was a lot of defense, and I kept saying to myself — just apologize. Your many many years of sharing bike stories shows your reputation. Not this one incident. An apology can be the biggest thing to move on and to gain real respect and it’s obvious you now realize and mean it. We all make mistakes and in fast paced world, it’s even easier to do. Well done on sitting down and writing this piece, it shows that you are not just a journalist, but an authentic human being — and that’s what people like about this site — it’s not just bikes.. it’s a blog that has you behind it — and you have an interest in all sorts of biking — activism, bike fun, racing, politics, sports, family, advocacy…. thank you J —

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Thank you caryebye,

That means a lot coming from you…as someone who I count as an inspiration for BikePortland.

Gabe
Guest
Gabe

So many “professional journalists” and anti-bike commentors jumped on you yesterday, it was a dogpile that was undoubtedly fueled in part by jealousy of your perserverance and readership. Haters gonna hate. Every paper has retractions, thank you for taking the time to write an apology. The lesson is that there are hordes waiting for you to misstep so that the can label you as irrelevant, which you are anything but. Carry on.

Hart Noecker
Guest

Moving forward, Portland still needs to address its stagnation as a cycling leader, nationally. Kris will be joining us again for our next ride. Jonathan, we hope you can make it, too. All are welcome. Event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/549677315063287/

cw
Guest
cw

color-blindess is just another privilege that white people enjoy that the rest of us know is something akin to rainbows and unicorns. To say that you were raised to be color-blind as a defense of your words is just plain tone deaf.

but, i do appreciate your apology and that you (finally) seem to understand why this issue is hurtful.

JRB
Guest
JRB

Please, give it a rest. Reasonable, thinking people know that white privilege and male privilege exist. But it’s going too far that because Jonathan and others say they saw a resemblance between two men of Asian descent, that is proof of their racism. Maybe they were racially motivated and maybe they weren’t. The fact is that there is not enough information publicly available to come to an informed conclusion either way. Before leveling an accusation as inflammatory and potentially defaming as racism, I would hope people would have more evidence than “he said two Asian guys look similar.”

Crying racism whenever somebody privileged does something that affronts you strips the term of its power and meaning.

cw
Guest
cw

where did i ever say that being tone deaf and totally insensitive was proof of racism? In fact, I didn’t even use the word “racist” or “racism” in my post. Defensive much? Put words into other people’s mouths?

JRB
Guest
JRB

Your are right, I did put words in your mouth and I apologize. I was reacting to the many accusations of racism and failed to distinguish your response from others who were raising race as an issue. Defensive, not so much. If you want to counter to arguments head on, please do, but to characterize someone as being defensive is an attempt to score points without responding substantively.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Is it possible that we as a society could make a distinction between active racial bias with ill intent and the the clumsy inattentive offenses committed by clueless white guys like myself WHO ACTUALLY MEAN NO HARM?

The particular incident that brings us here today was likely a case of the $tupids. Harm was done but not with the same intent, malice or planning that actual racists put in their actions.
Certainly education is needed if “white privilege” attitudes are to be dealt with but if the contention of non-whites is that all whites “don’t get it” then we’ll need someone to explain it to us, preferably someone not white.

L
Guest
L

When Jonathan was defending himself yesterday (might have been on Twitter) he wrote something along the lines of “we’ve evolved to notice differences.” So which way is it? He’s colorblind or he’s evolved to notice differences?

Interesting how so often it’s whites who say they are colorblind. I say nobody is colorblind. We see color. It’s how we respond to it that matters.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

cw,

“tone deaf”?

Not sure I understand what you are implying. That’s what I was taught as an impressionable young person. I don’t see situations in terms of peoples’ skin color. In most situations that’s a bonus; but in others, it’s a flaw that I am only now beginning to come to grips with.

cw
Guest
cw

Jonathan,

it sounds like you have had many people talk you through this issue, so i don’t want to flog a dead horse. but did anyone point you to Tim Wise’s writings? He does a much better job than I would ever do of explaining the dangers of hiding behind “colorblindess”

I encourage you to read his writings:
http://www.timwise.org/2010/08/with-friends-like-these-who-needs-glenn-beck-racism-and-white-privilege-on-the-liberal-left/

I would skip the top bit and scroll down to the section titled “Liberal Colorblindness and the Perpetuation of Racism.” here is an excerpt:

‘By “liberal colorblindness” I am referring to a belief that although racial disparities are certainly real and troubling — and although they are indeed the result of discrimination and unequal opportunity — paying less attention to color or race is a progressive and open-minded way to combat those disparities. So, for instance, this is the type of colorblind stance often evinced by teachers, or social workers, or folks who work in non-profit service agencies, or other “helping” professions. Its embodiment is the elementary school teacher who I seem to meet in every town to which I travel who insists “they never even notice color” and make sure to treat everyone exactly the same, as if this were the height of moral behavior and the ultimate in progressive educational pedagogy.

But in fact, colorblindness is exactly the opposite of what is needed to ensure justice and equity for persons of color. To be blind to color, as Julian Bond has noted, is to be blind to the consequences of color, “and especially the consequences of being the wrong color in America.” What’s more, when teachers and others resolve to ignore color, they not only make it harder to meet the needs of the persons of color with whom they personally interact, they actually help further racism and racial inequity by deepening denial that the problem exists, which in turn makes the problem harder to solve. To treat everyone the same — even assuming this were possible — is not progressive, especially when some are contending with barriers and obstacles not faced by others. If some are dealing with structural racism, to treat them the same as white folks who aren’t is to fail to meet their needs. The same is true with women and sexism, LGBT folks and heterosexism, working-class folks and the class system, persons with disabilities and ableism, right on down the line. Identity matters. It shapes our experiences. And to not recognize that is to increase the likelihood that even the well-intended will perpetuate the initial injury.’

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

cw,

As is often the case, the internet and electronic communications makes this discussion even more difficult than it already is. Without being face-to-face everyone takes things out of context and it makes it hard to understand one another.

but I’ll try to explain myself again: I totally agree that we shouldn’t “treat everyone the same.” In fact, I’ve often argued (in personal conversations, not on the internet) against the kind of colorblind teachings you reference. I agree that we must acknowledge race. (Pls realize I am not dismissing Wise’s writings. They are very interesting and I’m glad you shared them with me (as others have too)).

When I say that the racial component of this story never occurred to me, it’s not because I think everyone’s the same and we should treat everyone alike, it’s because I simply failed to understand that there was a racial component to the story. This is hard to convey online so I’ll just stop there for now and hope we can talk about this in person some time.

Elliot
Guest
Elliot

As it happens, Tim Wise will be in Portland to give a talk at PSU next Wednesday, April 10. Jonathan, I think it’d be amazing if you went and posed a question about the story. I’ll buy you a ticket.

http://www.pdx.edu/diversity/an-evening-with-tim-wise

longgone
Guest
longgone

Elliot…As this is the blog-o-sphere, and intention is difficult to interpret, I am curious as to your motive in regards to this. I have no idea of the repoire you might have with J.M., so I find this rather odd. Perhaps it is none of my bees wax…

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Some laws are based on the premise that every citizen shall be treated equally regardless of the fact those citizens are not equal at all. The people enforcing those laws don’t have to assume everybody is equal in order to equally enforce such laws.

Similarly, if one’s “color blindness” takes the form of regarding and treating every individual without associating any presumptions with their races, then that “color blindness” won’t have the effects Wise speaks against.

The problem with “color blindness” is that people often use the phrase implying more or less than simply the absence of discrimination based on color, and such use effectively renders the phrase vague, so when people like JM use it meaning one thing, others might take it to mean something more or less. I hope that in future situations you will ask questions about peoples’ “color blindness” before characterizing it.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Caleb,

Thanks for saying this. It’s an excellent insight and it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. It also speaks to the lack of context and limitations of the internet in understanding one another.

RE: color blindness – Just because I don’t see people’s color as impacting some situations does not mean that I am blind to people’s color in every situation. Please re-read that sentence.

In this one particular instance the men’s color did not occur to me. I am still working through why that is the case — but please understand that it’s not accurate to characterize me as someone who never sees and/or appreciates peoples’ racial/ethnic background.

Thanks.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

You’re welcome, Jonathan. I’m glad my words could help foster more understanding.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

cw,

When I said I was raised to be color-blind I was stating a fact. I appreciate your comment though.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

Jonathan, your response to question #1 is pretty weak. The question is, “[H]ow can I assure you that this will never happen again?” Your answer to that question is:

“First, anyone who knows me (either personally or through this site or both), knows that I am constantly checking my gut, that I am open and accepting of criticism, and that I am constantly learning how to this job better. I can assure you that this experience has left an indelible impression on me. It’s a stinging reminder that I must never forget the immense responsibility I have.”

That response doesn’t address the question. Nothing you’ve said indicates to me that you’ll be able to avoid this in the future. I would argue that rather than “checking [your] gut” you should VERIFY THE STORY BEFORE YOU PUBLISH. The next time you receive an accusation from someone you should contact the accused and get their side of the story. That would have saved you from this whole mess this time, and would have saved you from having to retract on stories in the past as well.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Nothing you’ve said indicates to me that you’ll be able to avoid this in the future.”

What is this, a serial offense?
Are you the school principle? What is with the superior, lecturing tone?
Lots of stones…
…but I can still see you in your glass house.

cyclist
Guest
cyclist

Yes, this is not his first offense. Some idiot who swerved recklessly into Hawthorne hit a bus, then told Jonathan that he got hit by a bus driver. Jonathan published the story (without verification) and Jonathan had to retract when Trimet showed him video of the incident. There have been other incidents, that one is the example that sticks out most to me.

When Jonathan posts unsubstantiated claims against someone (or a group of someones) he’s being totally irresponsible. He himself said that he wanted to assure us that this would not happen again. It doesn’t seem out of bounds to me to point out that nothing he said indicates that he’ll be able to avoid the same mistake in the future. I’m still hopeful that he’ll promise to contact the accused for comment before a story runs. I guess we’ll see.

BURR
Guest
BURR

There has also been the occasional false accusation of someone being a bike thief, based solely on hearsay.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Hi cyclist,

Yes. you are right. I will definitely go to greater lengths to verify identities in future stories. Thanks for your comment.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Dude you have done so much for the bike Community here it is amazing and awesome. I always wanted to do what you do but just never really got it going plus just don’t have the talent you got. ride on!

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

I think of the repercussions of when I screw up. I can loose clients. From the support posted above it appears you will not loose a lot of clients. Like it or not, I will still use the site.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I think the whole think is being blown out of proportion – the original story, the defenses of it, the current apology. It was a mistaken identity foul up, that has been corrected. Move on.

Yes, some additional fact-checking may be desirable, but this is the internet, where blog posts can be promptly corrected as new facts emerge, so there’s no need to be frozen on a story waiting for official response.

By the way – I am Asian myself (Chinese), and don’t understand what the racism angle here is. Two random men can look somewhat alike whether they are both Asian or both some other race.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Thank you! peace.

Kenji Sugahara
Guest

I completely see it. I appreciate Jonathan’s apology- and having known him for a while I know it was inadvertent.

Case in point:

A few years back I was at a race- I was standing near another guy who happens to be Asian. Another guy walks up to him and says “Hi Kenji”. I look over curiously and the poor guy says – “I’m not Kenji.” Other guy gruffly says “well, you all look the same.”

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

I agree, the silliest part of this whole thing was the outcry of “racism!”.

I get told I look like someone else by complete strangers at least once every few months. Not sure why – I was even threatened once because the person thought I was someone else who has screwed them over in some way (gee, thanks doppelganger!).

Most recently was by a checker at New Seasons who thought I was a drummer in the band he saw play the night before. Doesn’t mean he was racist for thinking that. People CAN look alike from time to time.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

John,

A part of me agrees with your comment.. But what I’ve realized this time around is that it’s not just about what I feel but about what others feel. I might want to “move on” but the fact that others don’t is just as important. My role necessitates that I take other people’s feelings as seriously as my own.

Thanks for your comment.

Brad
Guest
Brad

Go back to basics, Jonathan. This site is best when it reports and/or opines in a thoughtful and well researched manner. I would rather see a single well done and relevant article each day than much of the empty filler found on the site in recent years.

Stay focused on BICYCLES and BICYCLE NEWS. Just because bikes were involved does not make it a bike story. Veloprovo and Hart Noecker’s other protests seem to be focused on other issues and not directly tied to bike advocacy. If my friends and I hop in the saddle as Cyclists United for Marriage Equality, Legal Weed, Better School Funding, Immigration Reform and Free Ice Cream Now!, is our cause worthy of Bike Portland coverage just because we shouted from atop our bikes? Is it truly relevant to the bike community?

On that topic, thoughtfully consider your sources. Not every upstart with a bike is a legitimate advocate any more than you should trust a press release from a politician, bureaucrat, or city contractor as gospel.

In closing, I also caution you to report the story rather than becoming the story. You let your ego get the better of you on this one but it has become a trend that you attack whenever someone critiques your site, your views, a friend in high places, your wife’s bike dance troupe mates, etc. You also seem eager to nitpick when posters see things a bit differently and it comes off as condescending. Good, solid and factual reporting deflects scrutiny and allowing differences of opinion to be expressed on your site shows true confidence.

longgone
Guest
longgone

This was relevant to bicycling, it simply got derailed on a rediculuos non sequitar.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

in other words you asking jonathan to write about bike-related tops that **YOU** find interesting. and from the tone of your comment i suspect that our areas of mutual interest would make a figure 8 venn diagram.

#get_your_own_blog

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

topics

was carless
Guest
was carless

This. a million times.
Please, Bikeportland is my only fix for positive bicycling news in PDX. It deserves the highest of ethics Maus can muster. If that makes any sense, I’m tired now.

Hart Noecker
Guest

Where’s your bike blog, Brad? When you start writing, then we can all visit your page and tell you what you should or shouldn’t cover. Or are you just arm-chair quarterbacking like everyone else? Jon can make his own decisions without people telling him what to cover.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Brad,

Thanks for your input on what type of stories to cover. That’s great food for thought. But I’ll disagree that there has been much “empty filler” in recent years.

As for what “bicycle news” is, I am well-aware of that distinction and I pass up many stories because of it. I do think Veloprovo is relevant though and I will continue to monitor their actions/progress.

And you said:

I caution you to report the story rather than becoming the story. You let your ego get the better of you on this one but it has become a trend that you attack whenever someone critiques your site, your views, a friend in high places, your wife’s bike dance troupe mates, etc.

I’m not sure what you are getting at here. My ego is always a part of my work. What you see as an “attack” I see as defending my work… and that’s something I will continue to do when I think it is warranted. My defense of my work has nothing to to do with a “friend in high places” or “my wife’s dance troupe.”

The fact remains that I like to debate and challenge people that question my perspective. If that comes off as “condescending” than so be it.

That being said, I completely agree that “good, solid, and factual reporting deflects scrutiny.”

Thanks for your comment.

100th Monkey
Guest
100th Monkey

Brad;
I suggest YOU check your facts first before making judgements. As a member of Veloprovo I would like to bring to your attention our raison d’etre; “Veloprovo are a group of cyclists and livable streets activists committed to enacting radical changes to the way we design, build, and enjoy urban social space.

We recognize the inherent harm that motorized traffic causes our health and human interactions, and the role that cars play in contributing to the climate crisis.

We realize that without grassroots organizing and activism, we cannot expect elected leaders to make the correct decisions needed to convert roads dominated by cars back into streets built for people.

We will strive for provocative, thoughtful action inspired by the Dutch provo movement and by Portland’s own livable streets activists of generations past.”

I also invite you, if you have the time to meet us Monday 4.8.13 at Holladay Park at 5:30 PM for our next ride. While you may choose not to ride with us, we would like to talk to you.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Jonathan,

I was disappointed in watching these events unfold, but I see you’ve done a 180 and held yourself accountable and issued a genuine apology. I’m very happy that there was no “sorry to those who were offended” or attempts to rationalize/intellectualize the situation. Good job in turning this around and ultimately doing the right thing.

I think it’s fair to point out that you were hoodwinked by a group that self-identify themselves as anarchists, part of whose routine is provoking confrontation and claiming they are being repressed. They were on high-alert for law enforcement, because it gives them a sense of self-importance. Kris wasn’t “one of them,” and when suspicions were raised, the confirmation bias kicked in, resulting in accusations going straight to the the Internet. If they went the route of getting to know him, the facts might have come in a less awkward manner.

There isn’t well-defined line when advocates become edgy activistas and push the envelope rather than engage in constructive dialogue. I hope to hear more about the advocates and less about the provocateurs. I enjoy your coverage of advocacy groups like BTA. I like to read about efforts by groups like CCC who engage minority groups and economically disadvantaged Portlanders. I gain insight when you publish articles about pro- and anti-cycling legislation in Salem and Portland City Hall. Sunday Parkways. Pedalpalooza. Cross Crusade. Timberline MTB Park. 136th Ave. Bike theft recovery stories. I think you see where I’m going…let’s hear more of that.

I’ll keep reading the best bike blog in the USA.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

When others don’t “rationalize/intellectualize” their allegations to begin with, I’d prefer people like JM do “rationalize/intellectualize” a defense rather than pander to the biases of those who are hurt primarily by their own assumptions.

After all, did VeloProvo actually claim they were being repressed while airing their suspicion? Did VeloProvo have to find themselves self-important in order to be suspicious? Or are such conditions just something people are perceiving through their own biases?

Arguing against bias with a biased argument rarely has the effect of preventing further bias.

Sunny
Guest
Sunny

Taller people are so privileged. Shame on you Maus. Shame on you.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Not sure if sarcasm

Or tr0ll

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

How about this:
On nearly all public transit (trains, buses or airplanes) if I sit with my back shoved all the way back against the chair I’m seated in my knees still jam in to the seat in front of me. So I either have to spread my legs in to other’s seating areas or crouch up in the fetal position.

<sarcasm>
Go tall power!
</sarcasm>

Did you intend to get in to a random rant on anatomical advantages/disadvantages or were you just bein’ funny?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Thanks for all the comments.

Unfortunately I’ve been in a meeting all afternoon and have not been able to respond. I’ll be able to reply later tonight. Thanks.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

No worries.:)
We overloaded your site for you while you were out.

Kasandra
Guest
Kasandra

Thanks for the public apology and self-reflection. But let’s all stop thinking of racism as a binary issue. “Am I racist?” is a question that makes us all defensive, and quick to point out all the evidence that we’re good people. But “Do I have more left to learn about white privilege and internalized racism?” Yes, I do. “Do I sometimes have blind spots?” Yes, that too.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Very well put.
Painful though it may be we can all learn from this, from all the smart, articulate folks who keep posting their thoughts and perspectives here that we would not have encountered but for what transpired.

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Thanks for saying that Kasandra. I think you captured some of the complexity of the situation.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Kasandra has boiled it down to the bare bone. She wins .

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Wins what? I wasn’t aware this situation was a competition.

JRB
Guest
JRB

I too appreciate Kasandra’s bringing, at least for me, clarity on the racism/privilege issue. I guess I see them as related, but different things and some of the frustration I have expressed here has been at people conflating the two. I am much more willing to agree that failing to anticipate the reaction to a white person saying two different Asian men look alike may stem from the obliviousness that comes with privilege. I remain steadfast in my belief, however, that people had little basis for hurling accusations of racism.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

For emphasis, I’ll add that I agree.

Mike Fish
Guest
Mike Fish

Well said – thanks for writing this piece.

Barney
Guest
Barney

“I cannot get my head around J.Maus beibg labeled as a racist”

In most of the comments that I saw where racism was mentioned it was directed at veloprovo and their shameful behavior, not at JM. The flaws in the story were fact based and not about anything else.

Thank you JM for the apology, it seems like it was both difficult and heartfelt

Mike Cobb
Guest
Mike Cobb

The accusation was bandied about within the non-PB internets, ie a Facebook friend of mine.

JOHN ALAN NAYLOR
Guest

…just RIDE bro……………….

tnash
Guest
tnash

Wow, this just got even More Portlandia. You need to relax, take more of a bike snob nyc approach — this is Your site, god dammit, if you start trying to please Anybody in this town then you’re going to be a basket case. …strap a pair on and enjoy life, for christ’s sake (ironically humorist sexist reference intended) 😛

Sam Ollinger
Guest

Jonathan,

BikePortland was the primary source of inspiration for both my own work and for the three of us that originally launched our site. While it’s taken a slightly different direction than where you’ve gone – I still hold what you do here in very high respect. I’m fairly certain that you deal with a lot of criticisms and sometimes it may seem like those supportive of you may not be as loud and frequent with their praise as the detractors and critics can be – it’s something I deal with on a daily basis and so it has become very important to rely one my own gut, like you admitted you do. I’m not sure what you did was racist, maybe a little tone deaf (if that’s the right word) but being honest about this, well I’m very impressed and inspired that you admitted what you did.

I learned a lot from these past few days and while it may have been better for the lessons to not have been taught this way, that’s now water under the bridge. Keep up the excellent work. You still do inspire.

was carless
Guest
was carless

I think that Sam has posted something very insightful. I generally agree with this comment!

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Thank you for sharing that Sam.

2wo Wheel
Guest
2wo Wheel

“It’s the cost of an education…”
hang in there and keep up the good work.

Michael Moore
Guest

This is the first time I’ve heard that attempting to be blind to color was a central tenant of multiculturalism. Generally, multiculturalism is characterized more as respecting, celebrating and honoring a diversity of cultural backgrounds and experiences. This is in contrast to the particularly U.S.-centric concept of the “melting pot,” which was more about erasing cultural differences. Trying to pretend one is “color blind” is itself a luxurious delusion afforded to white people and particularly whites who identify as males. Few people of color have the luxury of pretending not to “see” color because our intrinsically racist society does not ever let them forget that they don’t belong to the dominant culture.

That is what some people are suggesting BikePortland should be more sensitive to. That isn’t the same as saying “so-and-so is a racist,” though eventually a pattern of behavior emerges that might make one think someone is a racist. I have been and continue to remain disappointed in the lack of thoughtfulness, insight and depth in the coverage of how racism and classism intersect with policies that are frequently promoted and supported on this blog. In my opinion, the way Jonathan frames the issues simple ignores disparate impacts on culturally and economically marginalized people, and has occasionally been so clunky as to inflame racist and classist attitudes and contribute to the marginalization. (This is ironic because Jonathan is so often on target in calling out the way other news sources frame issues so as to inflame negative perceptions of people who ride bikes.) BikePortland is first and foremost a blog written by and for those very comfortable with the dominant culture’s values — mostly, those who have benefited from same, which statistically is overwhelmingly white people. Some of these topics were addressed in Aaron Renn’s recent critique of new urbanism. There is rarely such insight displayed on BikePortland and I don’t get the sense that most readers of this blog particularly care one way or the other. The consumerist values of U.S. capitalism held by most of BikePortland’s audience are very well reflected here.

Perhaps because I spend a great deal of time with people in extreme poverty, I’ve discovered over time that there’s more to Portland’s cycling community than that. I know about people who scrabble together a barely functioning bike because it is a simple, efficient, enjoyable and inexpensive way to get around, and I know about those who help those people get a leg up. I just don’t expect to see much of that covered here, no where near as much as stories about high-end custom bike-builders, fancy clothes and bags, “cool” imported gadgets made in factories where people jump to their death over working conditions, and how “bikes mean business.” Little of that is is relevant to me or my circles, but I read this blog to keep up with what the dominant culture is pushing as it relates to urbanism, active transportation, policy development and how those intersect with social issues. I appreciate it for being an accurate and wide-ranging warts-and-all barometer of what passes for progressivism in Portland, and for the energy Jonathan puts in keeping it timely and the enthusiasm and passion with which he does so. Apology or not, I always take what I read here with a grain of salt; apology or not, I will continue to do so.

Mike Fish
Guest
Mike Fish

Wow, what a thoughtful post.

are
Guest

thanks, michael

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Thanks for sharing your perspective Michael. You give me some great food for thought. I have covered a wide range of topics on this blog — from people who live on the street to people who make $8,000 bicycles. Yes, there has been more coverage of the latter, but that’s only because those stories are closer to my social sphere. In that sense, you bring up some important points and I will try and do more stories about how bicycles play a role in the communities you operate in. Thanks again and keep in touch.

steph routh
Guest
steph routh

Michael, thank you for your work and your voice.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

portland progressives love to talk a good talk but in my experience they are as hostile to criticisms of class and capitalism as the billionaire-funded tea party.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Michael… I ceratainly hope that grain is Kosher,and not Iodized, At first glance I thought the MM of Flint Michigan was weighting in! Upon looking briefly at your link I see that you are doing the work so few would have the heart to do. I tip my hat to you, and see that people I love hold your opinion high. I would like to just say, that beyond all the trappings of our “corporate,capitalist,industial,militaryetc.etc.etc.” nightmare, the bicycle, in my dreamy opinion is the best tool to “raise all boats” in a world where poor people of all colors dwell. Sappy, I know, but it is my belief.

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

Great points, I hope everyone reads this. Thanks Michael!

Will Heiberg
Guest
Will Heiberg

Jonathan, thanks for your tireless work and honest perspectives. I think that what I enjoy most is that even when I may not agree with your point of view, it does make me stop and really think about the issues.

You handled this sensitive issue well, and is something that many of us can learn from. Looking forward to reading many more excellent stories on BP.

Cory Poole
Guest
Cory Poole

I don’t think any journalist can get it right all of the time. Getting to cautious would leave the news stale and remove any possibility of getting scoops. I think we all know you don’t have resources of large news organizations I don’t think anyone should expect everything to be fact checked. Keep it coming! If something turns out to be wrong just do a correction. (that would be more then fox news ever does…)

Greg
Guest
Greg

Many interesting & thoughtful comments in this thread.

When I first saw the original article’s headline (before the update), I cringed. It sounded like a serious accusation, and only backed up with “suspected”, which suggested we were only hearing one side of the story.

This leads me to JM’s question “How can you be confident in my work in the future and how can I assure you this will never happen?”

I think one answer might be to find someone to act as a sounding board. The vast majority of articles don’t need it, but any time you are questioning if you’re doing the right thing, that is the time to ask for a second opinion. It could just be a small group of people in an email list, and they might have prevented the article from running.

eastsider
Guest
eastsider

someone thought an undercover cop was at activist event but it actually turned out to be someone else that looked very similar. story corrected. the end. thats it!

i have no idea what all this fuss is about, other than people looking for something to get angry about. imagine if we all put this much energy into stoping the enormous highway expansion project known as the CRC that will have detrimental effects on our region for the next century.

You want to talk about real racism? its not mistaking two people that look alike. Its building massive highway projects (and then expanding them) through poor minority neighborhoods – thereby destroying communities, plummeting property values and subjecting populations to high levels of noise and air pollution.