Friday, January 21, 2011

Playing In Traffic

Here’s another story that’s not from The Onion but sounds like it should be: First Lady’s Anti-Obesity Campaign Could Be Causing More Pedestrian Deaths.

Tucker Carlson’s unintentionally funny site actually ran a story claiming that because more people were walking to work at the urging of Michelle Obama and her get-fit campaign, more people where being run over.

Pedestrian deaths increased sharply during the first half of 2010, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). On Wednesday, the Executive Director of the GHSA accused the first lady’s obesity program of causing the deaths by encouraging people to exercise.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha said that while there are not yet definitive answers as to why there were more pedestrian deaths in 2010 than 2009, Obama’s “get moving” movement could be at least partially to blame.

“There’s an emphasis these days to getting fit, and I think people doing that are more exposed to risk [of getting hit by a vehicle],” Harsha told the Examiner. “Obviously, further study is needed.”

They have now updated the story several times (including adding a question mark to the headline) after Ms. Harsha stated that she had been misquoted.

“We in no way oppose Ms. Obama’s program.” She said she was trying to make a broader point about pedestrian awareness and safety. If Obama’s program is getting more people to walk, “they need to be aware of their surroundings and do so in a safe manner.”

As for the “sharp”rise in pedestrian deaths, they went up by seven, from 1,884 to 1,891.

Do these people truly have nothing better to do than come up with absurdities like this?

HT to Steve Benen.