Monday, April 3, 2006

Memo to WaPo: Dog Bites Man Isn't News

The Washington Post, continuing its downward spiral, now reports that a cop harassing a black woman is news. Then, trying to convert "dog bites man" into "man bites dog," they report that the black woman wouldn't stand for it, and that the police won't stand for the woman not standing for it.

Of course, if dog bites man isn't news, then neither is "dog bites man, man whacks dog, dog bites man again."

The black woman in question is Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who reportedly hit a Capitol Police officer when he laid a hand on her in what she claims was an inappropriate way. What does the Washington Post -- the "liberal" D.C. paper -- have to say?

Black clergy and lawmakers came to the defense of the firebrand congresswoman on Monday. McKinney smiled as her supporters heaped praise on her leadership and her new look -- her trademark cornrows replaced earlier this year by a curly brown afro.

Well! That's news. She's a woman, so she'd like the coverage of her hair, of course, and in case readers didn't realize she was a black (did I mention that?), African-American woman of darkish color, it's only responsible journalism to highlight the fact that she customarily wears the cornrows or Afro traditionally sported by black African-American people. Because, of course, she's black.

I honestly don't know whether the police stopped her inappropriately. I don't know if she overreacted to being stopped by the police; she very well may have. I have no idea whether they would have treated a white, Republican Congressman in an expensive suit the same way they treated her. I really don't know, and I don't have a knee-jerk reaction that it must be racial profiling, and I'm not second-guessing the Capitol police, at least not based on the evidence that's been made public.

I am second-guessing the Washington Post, which used to be, and sometimes still is, a serious paper. What the hell are they doing reporting this story in this way? What reporter today is so retrograde as to actually write -- and what editor today is so tone-deaf as to allow -- the sentence about how McKinney wears her god-damned hair?

If this is the "new media", I don't like it. From the Ben Domenech embarassment to inartful articles like this, the WaPo seems to be slipping. Next they'll hire Jeff Gannon for his trenchant insights, like his impassioned defense of the power of prayer. (There is an opening for a right-wing columnist, you know.)

It's my second day back from vacation and they've already made me put on my angry suit. Sheesh.

Update, April 5: It just gets worse. More developments in this story here and here.



lucretia said...

WaPo supports Bush and the right wing. So naturally they're creating as much bad stuff for McKinney.

McKinney is the best thing to hit the House in years if, of course, you are not a vichy Dem. The Dems supported her opponent in the primary after McKinney's first two years in the House. The Dem opponent was a true vichy: the campaign developed into the opponent supporting Israel,while McKinney supported the Palentinians. Well, the Israeli lobby spent big time for opponent, and while the Palentians appreciated McKinney they didn't have the money. McKinney lost.

But McKinney got herself elected after two years and is back!

She is hated by Bush & Co. and the Hill Dems because she says all the wrong things: ie, early on after 9/11 she pointed out the big sales of certain stocks on 9/10 and similar remarks. She said at the time she speaks truth to power.

She held a panel which was on C-Span on Katrina. She is not excitable but dead on when she talks. She reminds me of Howard Dean and Amy Goodman.

No doubt one can easily hazard the guard was set up to do his nudge of McKinney, knowing she would react as she should, and then be held responsible for blah, blah,blah.

Cynthia McKinney is a Congresswoman and a black person in that order. The black part is window dressing in this event, they want to get this congresswoman OUT! The hair part is stupid even for the right wing and particularly low for WaPo, since they make claim to some kind of professionalism.

ntodd said...

Wait, is McKinney black?

lucretia said...


You are seriously asking if McKinney is black? Sure, but there are lots of black Dem. congessmen and congresswomen. This is not about McKinney being black because why her in particular?