Monday, January 15, 2007

Armchair Editorialists at the Chicago Tribune

Today's Chicago Tribune had an editorial addressing the CTA's recent announcement that Red, Purple and Brown Line service will be significantly scaled back for over two years to allow the Brown Line reconstruction project to go forward.

The editorial described the problem and then in a bit of cattiness went after the "armchair engineers" who have been offering the CTA advice on how to mitigate the problems:

CTA Board Chairman Carole Brown's blog was overrun with comments from armchair engineers who seemed genuinely disgruntled that the CTA didn't consult them before deciding how to proceed with its construction project. We don't subscribe to the wiki approach to planning mass transit, but we can't help but share their frustration. There's got to be a better solution.

I certainly expected that having taken a swipe at the "armchair engineers" the editorialists would have shown their stuff by drawing upon solid reporting on engineering best practices to outline creative ways to address the problem. At a minimum, one expected a cogent analysis of what may have gone wrong on the project.

Instead, the editorialists noted that there were some unspecified good ideas floating around and left it at that.

Thanks a lot. With this kind of unambitious armchair editorialists on staff it is no wonder the Chicago Tribune is doing so well in the market (and marketplace of ideas) these days.

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