Monday, June 19, 2006

Another Confession

Every so often, I still miss drinking. Don't get me wrong, it's never a serious craving or anything worrisome; it's more along the lines of a wistful nostalgia for some of the things that I used to do. Fortunately, there is a readily available antidote to that kind of misguided nostalgia. I just pick up a copy of The Times Picayune, read the editorial and picture myself sitting in a bar listening to some drunk ramble on and on for hours without ever making a point.

There is one key difference between a long-winded drunk and an editorial page writer at the Picayune. When a drunk stops rambling, all too often, it's to get belligerent. The apparent reason for the rambling nature of Sunday's editorial was an effort to avoid being belligerent, or even critical. What started out looking like a half page indictment of (or admonition to) the city's leadership turned into a page length editorial about... nothing.

In addition to being pathetic journalism, this refusal to criticize the Nagin administration is third rate boosterism. While it's certainly not the job of a newspaper to decide that we should all unite behind the mayor, you have to wonder whether the deep thinkers at the Times Picayune have even thought their position through. Has it occurred to them that people would be more likely to unite behind the city's leadership if they felt that the usual watchdogs were doing their jobs? People do know when their being buffaloed and you don't need to be a cynic to suspect that no news is hidden bad news.

Anyway, the local press can play ostrich all they wants. There are other reporters in town (Adrastos has already posted on this, but his site seems to be inaccessible tonight). Every national news outlet still has reporters assigned to the recovery. If it's left to the national media to report on the city's failures, those failures will certainly seem worse, they'll probably get worse.

I certainly commend the Times Picayune for pointing out the wasteful spending by area judges; I just can't understand the amount of space devoted to the story--a large part of page one and four more pages (plus at least one op-ed piece and more promised as part of an occasional series) devoted to expenses totaling less than $240,000. Certainly, in that amount of space, the T/P could examine many more questionable expenses than that. It might even examine the failure of city agencies and rebuilding authorities to give adequate notice for mandatory public meetings.

Of course "big" (in terms of space anyway) stories and series get nominated for journalistic awards. Also, looking at more than judicial spending would involve looking critically at the Nagin administration and that seems to be taboo.

Finally, since Jeffrey's on hiatus, I'll point out the irony of a newspaper that can't afford to provide basic newspaper services sending at least three reporters and a photographer to Florida to report on wasteful government spending when the government can't provide basic government services. Well, that front page photo of a large bellied judge in a bathing suit certainly added quite a bit to my understanding of the story.

Update: Obviously, the city is about to start getting a lot more national and international attention. Couldn't help but laugh when I heard Warren Riley say that the city asked for the help weeks ago, but then say that the city's slow recovery was caused by excessively negative media coverage--by both the local and national media. In other words, the city realized that it needed help weeks ago, yet the media is exaggerating its problems.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Old Favorites
  • Political Boxing (untitled)
  • Did Bush Take His Ball and Go Home
  • Teratogens and Plan B
  • Foghorn Leghorn Republicans
  • Quote of the Day
  • October's News(Dec.1)
  • untitled, Nov.19 (offshore revenue)
  • Remember Upton Sinclair
  • Oct. Liar of thr month
  • Jindal's True Colors
  • No bid contracts