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Travel site says ‘driving cyclists off the road’ is rite of passage in Portland – UPDATED

Posted by on January 12th, 2015 at 1:44 pm

“… you’re the one driving a two-ton bullet of a machine, and thus you’re the one with all the power.”
— MatadorNetwork.com

Portlanders are used to being on lists when it comes to the travel and tourism media; but not like this.

Matador Network, which bills itself as the “web’s best independent travel media site,” has published an article that makes light of driving a car into bicycle riders. The article, published on December 29th, says it’s one of the seven “rites of passage everyone will experience in Portland.”

Surrounded by six other completely innocuous items, here’s the part about bicycle riders:

matador

Northeast Portland resident Gregg Lavender took to Matador’s Facebook page (which has 294,651 likes) to express his concerns:

“As a Portlander, I guarantee that I’ve never: “Daydream(ed)about driving cyclists off the road.” Please don’t fantasize about hurting me, my family, or my friends.

I’m sorry to read that Matt Staff feels otherwise. I’m sorry to read that Matador supports these dangerous (And not funny) articles.”

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Thankfully, Gregg has already heard back. “We appreciate you reaching out,” said an admin for the Matador page, “and have sent this feedback to our editors.”

We get that Matador’s writers are paid to generate clicks and they certainly have the right to their opinions. But as we’ve noted several times on our front page over the years, it’s never funny to make light of traffic interactions like this — especially when the behaviors being encouraged could easily lead to someone being killed.

Hopefully Matador’s editors do the right thing and delete that item.

UPDATE, 9:23 am on 1/13/15: We are happy to report that the article has been taken down.

UPDATE, 1/14/15: I heard back from the author of the blog post. Here’s his apology:

You’ve my sincerest apologies for the recent article featured on Matador Network regarding bikers in and throughout Portland.

The riff on reckless action was inappropriate, insensitive, and disrespectful to those folks of the biking community impacted by the destructive actions of drivers in the past.

In no way was I EVER encouraging drivers to ‘kill’ cyclists or harm them at all – there’s a fine line between attempts at humor and ‘too far’ and that line was crossed in pursuit of a coldhearted punchline.

I’d never encourage, stand behind such an evil action (harming a cyclist-harming anyone), and will always condemn those that do. I’ll have you know those that know me outside the ‘click-bait, humorous writing’ know me to be a man of high morals, good character, and well grounded values.

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

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Adam H.
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Adam H.

Their company name is Spanish for “killer”. Coincidence?

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

The real problem here is polarization. It’s increasingly common to see people’s opinions skewed in only one of two extreme directions – in this case either pro-bike or anti-bike. Why can’t people find a middle ground anymore? I drive, cycle, walk, and occasionally ride transit in Portland, and to me it’s all about which mode of transportation is best for the journey I’m about to embark on.

These irresponsible articles (frequently seen from The Oregonian) serve only as an affront to people backed into two opposing corners of the same room.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

So let me make sure I have this right, Matador feels that it is OK to advocate violence against innocent persons if it generates clicks on their website?

brian
Guest
brian

That’s right Grandpa!

was carless
Guest
was carless

It’s “Granpa” to you, son.

caesar
Guest
caesar

I think that you’ll find that the Matador folks (and their ilk) will always fall back on the “Hey, chill out – it’s just parody!” defense.

Personally, that article and all the hundreds of numbered / lists web pieces (“The 25 Most Beautiful Female Politicians!”, “15 Most Hated Bands of the Last 30 Years!”) are a waste of time and bandwidth, and we shouldn’t dignify them by even discussing them. And let’s not forget that simple access to the internet and a web-publishing software doesn’t automatically make anyone an expert in anything or one’s opinion worth sharing – or reading.

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

Daydreaming is not an act of violence.

rick
Guest
rick

Words can become actions.

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

Guess we should ban rap, italian mob movies and just about everything else remotely ‘offensive’. Words are words, actions are actions. Stop playing the victim card.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

After the Eric Garner choking death marchers in NY were chanting “what do we want: Dead Cops. When do we want it: Now!”. Following those protests, two cops were shot dead while sitting in their cars. To say that speech can not incite violence is naive.

Gary
Guest
Gary

To assume those chants “incited” the murders of the NYPD officers requires an extraordinary leap of faith, to put it kindly. I don’t disagree that words can incite action, but strongly disagree with your supposed example.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

The shooter was unstable to begin with. You could well be correct that the events were unrelated, however to have a large fervent group stirring up passions in a very public setting, uninterrupted by counter balancing reasonable voices, could be construed as tacit approval/encouragement to the shooter.

Opus the Poet
Guest

The Faux News-edited video of the march said that, not the marchers themselves. I have seen both the raw video and the Fox News version, and the sound on the raw video is much better than the quality on the Fox News version. It is quite plain that the Fox version was heavily tampered with.

Grandpa
Guest
Grandpa

Opus, I hope you are right. that chant would be a terrible and wrong sentiment. FWIW, I don’t watch Fox “News”

esther2
Guest
esther2

No they did not chant that. Anyone who follows news from reliable sources would know that a local Fox news station doctored the video. That has long been debunked

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

What I have gathered from a number of sources is that Fox & Friends Sunday misattributed the “dead cops” sound bite to the Million March NYC organizers or participants. It was actually chanted by a small group after the MMNYC had ended and dispersed. MMNYC disavows violence.

The Baltimore Fox affiliate station aired a mobile video clip where a chant about “killer cops” ended up sounding like “kill cops.” They issued an apology and correction.

matt picio
Guest

No, they feel it’s ok to advocate fantasizing about committing violence, which isn’t the same thing. It’s not a good thing, but it’s also not advocating outright crime.

The Bikeportland story title is somewhat disingenuous for that reason as well.

They’re walking a fine line here (Matador), but one which isn’t illegal. It sucks, and certainly there will be folks out there who have a poor grasp of the difference between fantasy and reality. I totally approve of people expressing their displeasure towards Matador very vocally. (just remember to keep it legal)

New Media
Guest
New Media

This kid is a joke… he’s a college senior, and his media experience amounts to scatter shot contribution to dispirit websites over the the past 9 months or so, plus of course, his own media venture, where he has two huge typos in his biography.

Matt
Guest
Matt

The article is still up. I just left a nice little comment and encourage others to do so as well.

Graham
Guest
Graham

http://matadornetwork.com/life/7-rites-passage-everyone-will-experience-portland/

Still up on their website. Here is a link to their facebook wall if anyone feels inclined.

https://www.facebook.com/matadornetwork/timeline

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

it’s been taken down…

David Carlsson
Guest
David Carlsson

I responded on their advertising site. I figured the people responsible for marketing might be more responsive to talk of homicidal violence by the writers.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Wow. So not cool.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“Come on, bro—just kidding! You can’t take a joke? Besides: fantasizing about using the power of a two-ton bullet to force people off the road, possibly causing a potentially life-threatening crash is nowhere close to actually doing it! Wow, sensitive much?” —Average Majority Public Who Think Joking About Death Or Injury To Out Group Is Harmless Fun

I’ve long been curious as to the particular deficiency in character, security, emotional/mental development, or whatever it is that makes so many adults appear to crave some form of elbow-nudging, chortling derision of other people in order to feel good.

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

Let me guess, you also get outraged when someone runs over a bicyclist on GTA V? This article you all are pitchforking over clearly says “daydreaming”, and it’s sad to see you all turning into the thought police. Every human being has daydreamed about killing someone. Probably many people. Probably starting with an ex. Chris Rock put it best, “if you’ve never thought about killing someone: you ain’t been in love”.

Seriously, chill out.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Don’t tell me to chill out.

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

*passes Matt the joint*

Matt
Guest
Matt

*tries to be funny*

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

TIL weed is funny

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

It’s all funny until the ‘humor’ is re-purposed by someone deciding to inflict their daydream in the form of a horrific reality for someone else. Last week, France and the rest of the world got a nasty little reminder of how some people just aren’t able or perhaps simply aren’t willing, to keep under control in a non-destructive way, their anger over certain types of humor.

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

Wow, linking the attack in France to this article? Pretty disingenuous attempt at false equivalency there.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Thank God pixelgate is soooooo above it all.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

How so? Freedom of speech is freedom of speech. Celebrate that.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…linking the attack in France…” pixelgate

It was a reference I made to the type of humor some people respond to by justifying actions with horrific consequences.

People deciding what to say, should be thinking what their objective in doing so is, what the consequences of doing so may be, and whether doing so is worth the consequences.

It’s a safe bet to figure that not everyone on the road behind the wheel of motor vehicle, has a perfectly well balanced mind. In fact, as an example, some bikeportland readers may remember the story of a few years back, describing a guy driving that out of frustration with traffic, deliberately ran into several people riding. On lower Clinton, I think.

So this guy, the author Matt Staff from the travel weblog Matador, maybe thought his little bit of creative scribbling was a rip snorting laugh a minute gag. Before he posted it, and before people expressed their objection to his having done so, had he given any consideration to the fact that his having written what he did, may contribute to someone feeling they have some right to actually make the daydream he describes, become reality?

Josh Chernoff
Guest
Josh Chernoff

What a pile of hypocritical BS. So your telling me that I should not exercise my opinion because someone was only exercising theirs? Sorry but if you can take the time to write in a public domain about how you would like to run me over than I can take that same amount of time to run your name threw the mud. Funny how the internet works like that.

Josh Chernoff
Guest
Josh Chernoff

**through**

pixelgate
Guest
pixelgate

It’s strange you’d call me a hypocrite when its people on these comments who are demanding the article be taken down. Who’s free speech is being censored? Certainly not yours. But if you get the article taken down you’re certainly censoring the author. Yet somehow your rights are being victimized? Sometimes commenters on this site enjoy playing the victim a bit too much.

Josh Chernoff
Guest
Josh Chernoff

No one asking to censor the author, we are asking the auth to take accountability for the offending people of portland. If the auth has any dignity or integrity as writer he will show show remorse and remove the article not because he was force but because he wants to do the right thing. See the thing about free speech is that is also comes with being accountable for what you say. Otherwise, he has every right to leave it up just as much I as have the right to promote his ostracization from our community.

Josh Chernoff
Guest
Josh Chernoff

OMG so many typos why no edit 🙁 and why did I have to hit enter

Sorry everyone.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Offence is never given, only taken.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

I disagree. That we can take offense even when someone has not given it does not negate from the fact that people sometimes certainly give it (even if we, in response, don’t take it).

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Keep guessing…

Opus the Poet
Guest

I would like to see random cyclists blow up on contact and take out the player character in the next edition of GTA, just to add a bit more “fun” to the game.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

As one who loves to run over bicyclists in GTA, I also think your addition would make the game more fun. 🙂

Note: I have no contempt for anyone riding a bicycle. The bicycle is my only transportation, and I love whenever anyone else rides one.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

I presume El Biciclero would not at all get outraged (or even close to it) at someone running over a bicyclist in GTA. Digitally running over a digital bicyclist is far different from writing divisive comments for all to see and project onto strangers in the streets. Yes, the article clearly says “daydreaming”, but who is upset about the alleged daydreaming? My impression is that people are upset about the writing instead.

Further, if anyone were upset about the alleged daydreaming, I would not be so hasty as you to dismiss that concern. Sure, maybe everyone has daydreamed about killing someone “probably starting with an ex”, but is one’s ex (or any other close acquaintance) the same as an arbitrarily created group one does not at all know? Not at all.

Also of note, did you miss where the article described the daydreaming as being “on a regular basis”? If someone can’t put the daydream of killing strangers out of mind, relatively high potential for violence might exist.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Thank you. I posted essentially this same response a wee ago, but it got moderated away; didn’t have time to re-type.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

…that is, a week ago…

FauxPorteur
Guest
FauxPorteur

Please, don’t click. Make it a habit to NOT click on links that take you to a site that posts BS like this just to get clicks/views/ad revenue. We all play into their hands when we do.

adventure!
Guest

“Matador Network, which bills itself as the ‘web’s best independent travel media site…’ ”

That’s interesting. I work in the the travel industry and this is the first time I’ve heard about them.

davemess
Guest
davemess

No joke. Who?

matt picio
Guest

Yeah, they’ve got the “shoestring operation” and “unknown” parts of “independent” down pat.

Eric Iverson
Guest
Eric Iverson

I sent an email through the advertising form, as well as Tweeting to them with my opinion. I also reported some Sharrows that need painting today. Doing my part 🙂

Brent Shultz
Guest
Brent Shultz

Funny that their site’s TOU states: “You agree not to use the Site or Matador Services to collect, upload, transmit, display, or distribute any Content …that is patently offensive (e.g., material that promotes … physical harm of any kind against any group or individual)”

JoshC
Guest
JoshC
JoshC
Guest
JoshC

Side story, my wife found this when looking up the facebook page for the local sandwich shop devils dill.

krx
Guest
krx

Use donotlink.com for sites like this.

FauxPorteur
Guest
FauxPorteur

While donotlink.com would be better than nothing. It’s still crappy that hundreds (thousands?) of impressions were generated by BikePortland readers visiting this BS site. Those impressions = ad revenue for this outfit.

Yes, the Internet is full of jokes. No, you shouldn’t take everything you read on the Internet too seriously. But, I think that this his kind of cynical click baiting is exactly what the Internet and society as a whole absolutely need less of.

was carless
Guest
was carless

It’s clickbait, obviously. I think this is how they generate pageviews, by inciting the masses..

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Article was not worthy of the attention given.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

article has been taken down…

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

the comments from the article are alive and well…

https://disqus.com/home/discussion/matadornetwork/7_rites_of_passage_everyone_will_experience_in_portland/

I’m guessing that was one of the reasons they took down the article… all comments bashing the bicycle part of the article…

Pete
Guest
Pete

I contacted one of the senior editors at Matador and pointed her here.

Kevin Wagoner
Guest
Kevin Wagoner

I blocked their page on Facebook so they can never communicate to me. Seems reasonable?

Arem
Guest
Arem
Khal Spencer
Guest

Its highly unethical for a company to publish such inflammatory stuff. They need to get a letter from someone like Steve Magas or Bob Mionske, asking if they want to be sued if someone takes their advice.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

I found it interesting that he decided to call the car a bullet. Sounds to me like he’s tacitly saying a car is a tool that can be used as a weapon– sitting still, it’s not dangerous but once it’s loaded…