Bullet-train coverage: All the happy talk that fits

Bullet-train coverage: All the happy talk that fits

The Fresno Bee’s editorial page has cheered longer and harder for the bullet-train project than just about any newspaper in the state. But has this enthusiasm affected news coverage? A story in Wednesday’s paper should make Fresno Bee readers wonder. Reporter Tim Sheehan writes about a new development:

“Geologists began drilling holes and collecting soil sam- ples Tuesday in downtown Fresno in preparation for the first stages of construction on California’s proposed high-speed train project.

“The first soil borings by Earth Mechanics Inc. took place along H Street, under the Stanislaus Street overpass that spans H Street, the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and G Street. It’s the first of more than two dozen locations between the northeast edge of Madera and the south end of Fresno where the company will test the subsurface soil conditions.

“The tests offer a mole’s-eye view to geologists, and the results will help engineers determine what kind of foundations will be required for new overpasses and other structures needed for the first 29-mile stretch of high-speed rail construction, said Michael Hoshiyama, a staff geologist with Orange County-based EMI.”

Where never is heard a discouraging word

But in 650 words, the Fresno Bee story never:

1) mentions the huge court setbacks that imperil the project. The reader would never know it’s in trouble just from this story.

2) quotes a project opponent about the wisdom of spending one dime on a project with an illegal business plan and an irreconcilable $25 billion shortfall.

What’s going on here?

Maybe Sheehan doesn’t want to be seen as a “naysayer” by Fresno Bee bosses. That’s the label the paper’s editorial page stuck on Central Valley congressional critics of the project back in April. Criticism isn’t valid, you see. It’s just “naysaying.”

Fresno residents deserve better.

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