Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Reds and the Blacks

You've probably heard already that the police force of Gretna in Louisiana blocked people--African-American people, that is--from crossing a bridge on the Mississippi to evacuate the Katrina disaster on foot (remember, a third of New Orleanians don't own cars). But did you know one reason the story hasn't got more national play is that the mainstream press got scooped by the Socialist Worker?

Here's how the Washington City Paper puts it:

Almost in unison, newspaper editors across the country pooh-poohed the news value of cops’ firing toward black people on a bridge in the deep South. In the days following its publication in the Socialist Worker, the drama clambered onto the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle in addition to scoring a brief on UPI. The relative silence proved a maxim of print journalism: It’s painful to credit other journalists, and it’s really painful to credit a pair of part-time socialist journalists.

How many different kinds of shame will Katrina dig up?

It's also warming to see the way the Wall Street Journal defends its decision, for according to the City Paper article:

“When we decide we want to go along, we go along. We kill a lot of stories each day because we’re judicious about what we put in the paper,” says a Journal editor.

In fact, the WSJ is so judicious that on just the first page of a Google search for "Wall Street Journal editorial page mistakes" you get all kinds of doozies. FAIR comes up with 20 mistakes, from misattributing quotes to out-and-out lies. RealClimate points out the ways the WSJ, like the President it sucks up to, denies the massive scientific evidence that proves global warming. Salon points out the ways the WSJ attacked articles in the Seattle Times--not to correct the record, but to sway the Pulitzer Prize committee.

But then again, it's just as judicious for the Wall Street Journal to block socialists as it is for the sheriff and deputies to stop blacks.


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