Politics

Highway safety spokesperson blames pedestrian deaths on Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign?

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Amanda Carey
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UPDATE: Scott McCabe, Reporter for the Washington Examiner, pointed out in an email to The Daily Caller that the GHSA brought up Michelle Obama in a story pitch for their report about pedestrian deaths.

Their pitch included a bullet point that read “One is the possible increase in distracted pedestrians and distracted drivers. We’ve been focusing on the drivers, but perhaps we need to focus some attention on distracted walkers! Additionally, Mrs. Obama and others have been bringing attention to “get moving” programs, so perhaps pedestrian exposure has increased.”

Additionally, another GHSA spokesperson mentioned Michelle Obama by name this morning during an interview with a local radio station. Michelle Obama is “trying to get us to walk to work and exercise a little bit more.  While that’s good, it also increases our exposure to risk,” said GHSA’s Jonathan Adkins.

UPDATE: Governors Highway Safety Association Director Barbara Harsha says she was misquoted in a story alleging she blames a rise in pedestrian deaths on Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity program, according to the Atlantic.

“I was misquoted, said Harsha. “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.”

Pedestrian deaths increased sharply during the first half of 2010, according to the GHSA.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, 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.”

Harsha also said electronic devices such as cell phones and iPods could have contributed to the higher death rate.

Obama’s “get moving” push is an effort to reduce childhood obesity rates. The movement went into overdrive early last year when President Obama created the White House task force on childhood obesity.

The increase in pedestrian deaths is notable because overall traffic deaths decreased by 8 percent. Moreover, the spike in fatalities in 2010 marks the end of four consecutive years of steady decline in pedestrian deaths.

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  • UncleDon

    DC, why don’t you call it a day and close down…you’re pathetic!

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  • JBinMD

    THIS is what the conservative media considers “journalism” these days? Seriously? I have gotten used to having fairly low expectations for Tucker Carlson and the like minded sycophants that he employs here, but this kind of mendacious yellow journalism deserves nothing but derision.

    It’s cute how the author (editor?) added a question mark after the fact as though that absolves them of responsibility for the title’s misleading smear. Why not write an article titled “Tucker Carlson has amorous relations with goats?” I have no idea if it is true or false but I believe I read that online somewhere, so it would be irresponsible not to speculate, right?

    I also feel fairly certain that if Michelle Obama were to encourage people to walk less in areas where pedestrian/vehicle conflicts might occur (in favor of other forms of exercise) then THE DC would post an article titled something like “FLOTUS seeks to kill more children with obesity(?)” I sincerely wish that there were more conservative journalists and politicians that I could respect and admire based on the content of their ideas and actions. I strongly agree with *some* of the historically conservative policies that they *say* they promote (like government that is smaller because it is more efficient and effective at providing the services that voters want), but there is just something profoundly wrong with Tucker’s brand of “journalism” and the people who support it.

    • Teaposer

      I seriously thought this article was from the Onion, until I linked to it…LOL

  • Teaposer

    0.4% is a sharp increase? That is very silly. Lately, your posts reek of pathetic desperation to find anything whatsoever to criticize about any liberal. Yesterday, I think you had a piece about Nancy Pelosi not knowing if her mic was on and having an upside down name tent on her desk. This is what you come up with? Perhaps you have lost your capacity for intelligent political debate…if you ever had one that is.

  • fuzzyslippers

    DC can and should do better than this. I’m a conservative who thinks MO is ridiculous in every conceivable way, but this is just petty, inane, and downright laughable. This is on the level of something you’d expect to find on HuffPo or FDL about conservatives. I hope that DC doesn’t think it’s going to keep conservative readers by posting silliness like this (we actually think for ourselves and have nothing but disdain for lefties who gobble up rancid rumors and outrageous claims. Like this one.).