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Foot to the PR pedal

Vail Daily Editorial
Vail CO, Colorado

County officials turning toward high-gas-mileage hybrid cars qualifies as a good thing.

Last week they made quite a show of buying 20 Priuses at once, for half a million dollars and maximum PR splash.

That the Daily had the temerity to report that some employees expressed minor quibbles with the car ” small size for folks with lots of gear, and the location of the battery ” appeared to be deemed disloyal to the message. (The concern about the battery was attributed incorrectly to the wrong employee in the story, but the comment was indeed made by another.)

Apparently the Prius is to be hailed as something approaching perfection, which is not quite the truth.

The car gets great mileage, which is a huge plus. But the aforementioned battery that helps power the car is expensive and does not appear to be particularly friendly for the environment, for example.

The Daily is also looking at reports of a rare problem with the car accelerating on its own, including one incident near Idaho Springs with a local family’s car that resulted in a harrowing ride and crash.

The criticism of a “negative” story about the purchase perplexed us. A reporter does not care about “positive” or “negative.” A reporter aims to report what is. That includes what people say. If a county employee or two somehow “fail” to toe the company line, well, kudos for their frank honesty.

It’s not the paper’s role to drink the Kool-Aid and edit out honest, if disagreeable, comments.

The commitment to hybrids is good. Bravo!

But the wiser decision, if not so splashy, would be to buy the cars as ones in the current fleet need replacement. Decision by PR expectations is not exactly a hallmark of true leadership.

” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board


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