So a WRAL TechWire follower on Facebook blasts us for coverage of Uber news this week that it has hired thousands of drivers and is looking to hire many more.

Well, here’s a response:

Read WTW ibefore making claims of bias.

First, here’s the rip posted at WTW’s Facebook page from Rick DeBusk:

“In response to your canned publication of a Uber press release as a news article, please give some unbiased news coverage to the realities of ride share services and the risks they pose to the public. While progress has been made in recent months, there still is no enforcement of new or existing insurance and business regulations creating huge liabilities for these 8,000 plus (drivers) jobs created in NC. Driving your personal vehicle for business purposes is not covered under any personal policy. It would behoove the tech crazed crowd to consider the perils of climbing into a car with a complete stranger who lacks proper business licensing and insurance coverages simply because you can book the service with an app and have a driver in 10 minutes. So how does the public feel about the potential for 120,000 under insured and un-regulated drivers on our streets?”

[Note: Just published, a post about other readers’ comments on Uber. Fascinating stuff.]

The real story on Uber

Normally, I read, take to heart, address concerns, make corrections (as I told the crowd at WTW’s “Full Steam Ahead Awards” on Tuesday, I’m called “fat fingers” for a reason …that being typos made in haste) and then move on from critics.

This time, a rebuttal is needed to set the record straight.

No publication in the Triangle has raised more questions or concerns and reported in more detail about the Uber debate than WRAL TechWire.

The decision was made to publish the story about Uber’s hiring and growth because a recent study found Uber’s growth is astounding with people flocking to Uber and its competitor Lyft instead of taxis.

This story is about JOBS, which is big news. (Thousands of people read that story, by the way.)

The story also noted the lack of regulation.

And look at the “linked” headlines included with the story:

  • The closing of Raleigh’s last B&B and the failure of government
  • Uber, Lyft to return – legally, temporarily – to Portland, Oregon
  • What are the next billion-dollar startups? Forbes picks these …
  • Report: Uber’s popularity surges; business travelers avoiding taxis

Plenty of Uber criticism – on all sides of the debate

This new Uber report came shortly after WTW in a column I wrote BLASTED local and state governments for their FAILURE to regulate the so-called “shared economy.” What angered me was the closing of the last traditional “bed and breakfast” in Raleigh because of competition from AIRbnb.

That “Skinny” column also noted that these companies look for ways to find paths to business around in-place regulation. Or as in the ongoing dispute at RDU International, fight the rules.

Further, The Skinny criticized all those “techies” who find Uber “cool” and put other businesses who play by the rules at risk.

While Raleigh’s City Council fiddles, a legitimate business with decades of roots in Raleigh is going belly up.

North Carolina’s General Assembly is moving at a snail’s pace as well.

Now, let’s look at other stories:

  • WTW published an Associated Press story about how Uber was able to return “legally” to business in Portland, Ore.

Note LEGALLY. That story was not kind to Uber.

  • Last October, The Skinny headline reads: “Entrepreneurship vs. Regulation: The Uber Debate.”

Want more?

I have linked with this post 23 stories WTW has published since April of last year when Uber launched in Raleigh.

Look at the headlines.

They are NOT all positive.

From questions about abuse of user data to rider safety to regulation … the list is lengthy.

WTW in the back pocket of Uber? Biased?

Look at the record, then as Dr. Michael Walden of NCSU writes in his columns: “You decide.”