Friday, May 05, 2006

Oh, Come On

First Stephanie Grace writes a vacuous, borderline dishonest op-ed piece, now Jarvis DeBerry does. Arguably, DeBerry crosses that border:

Perhaps that will play well in Peoria. Maybe Brinkley will find readers so far removed from our situation they'll find it easy to ridicule a weeping man. But here in New Orleans, the man who hasn't wept sticks out, and the man who seeks approval for mocking the tearful would do well to search for another audience.

I'm glad that DeBerry is man enough to admit that he cried, but Brinkley accused Nagin of much more than that. I have my problems with Brinkley's criticisms of Nagin--both in the particulars of the criticism and in it's presentation as history (although I'd like to think that most people know the difference between historians and actors who play them on TV), but DeBerry doesn't do himself or Nagin any favors with his dishonest or poorly thought out column.

DeBerry's criticism that: Brinkley relies on some of the mayor's political enemies as sources, is specious at best. Well of course, but a more valid criticism, in any history, might be that the author only interviewed "political enemies." In this case, defining enemies would be problematic, depending on when the interview took place.

Of course, the bigger problem is that DeBerry acts so outraged that Brinkley ridiculed a weeping man. Hate to imitate Somerby again, but DeBerry is treating his readers like rubes. Pick your favorite criticism of conservative columnists--cherry picking, setting up strawmen, feigning outrage--DeBerry hits the trifecta. DeBerry's moving opening passage about crying in a church and indignant closing about mocking a weeping man make for great writing. But as political commentary, it's about as balanced as Brinkley's history.

Would it be ridiculing a weeping man to point that "man enough to cry" DeBerry was man enough to wait until the seventh day?

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