Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Real journalists and the wingnuts who hate them

The Miami Herald's Leonard Pitts, Jr. is a the kind of smart, clear-headed editorial columnist that the mainstream media really, really needs more of. Unlike, say, Bozell or Malkin or Susan Estrich or Ted Rall, he's an actual journalist who can write and argue with logic. And he has a 2004 Pulitzer to show for his fine work. So naturally, right-wing extremists have decided that they hate him.

The trouble started when right-wing bloggers and racist bigots decided to exploit a horrible crime for political points. A white couple in Tennessee was abducted, raped, and murdered. Five African-Americans have been charged. It made the local news, but was not reported nationally. To the wingnutosphere, this is evidence that the librul media is so wimpy and politically correct that it purposefully avoids covering black-on-white crime so that nobody thinks they're racist. (Please note that the aforementioned African-Americans have been arrested but have not yet been convicted. Just some perspective here.)

Anyway, Pitts begs to differ.

Truth is, media ignore horrific crimes all the time. Space is limited and growing more so. Which means the story that catches fire usually has some element beyond gruesomeness to sell it. In the Duke case, it was class, privilege, sex and race that did it.

Not that I expect Oliver or any other ''oppressed'' white person to pay attention to something so trivial as fact. They're too busy demanding that this case be tried as a hate crime -- even though police say there's no evidence the couple was targeted for any other reason than that they were there. And last weekend in Knoxville, white supremacists held -- I kid you not -- a ``rally against genocide.''

Part of me thinks I should consider the source and let this slide. But the argument being advanced here is so utterly, abysmally, stupidly, self-servingly wrong that I cannot help but respond.

Black crime against whites is underreported? On what planet? Study after study and expert after expert tell a completely different story....

And here I'm obligated -- because I'm black -- to say that if the defendants in this case did what they are accused of doing, I'd be happy to see them rot under the jailhouse. Sadly, that needs saying because there are people who will not take it as a given.

Anyway, one white-supremacist site, Overthrow.com, decided to get back at the uppity Negro by posting his address and phone number. And, as you can guess, Pitts has been threatened by assorted white racist loons. And, as you can also guess, Overthrow.com isn't removing the information. Their webmaster, Bill White, told the Herald's managing editor, "Frankly, if some loony took the info and killed him, I wouldn't shed a tear. That also goes for your whole newsroom."

Come to think of it, this talk isn't far removed from Ann Coulter's fever dreams of Timothy McVeigh destroying the New York Times building. And somehow, like Ms. Coulter, you suspect that White is serious and really would love to see someone spray the Herald's staff with bullets.

Dave Neiwert has some background on the charming Mr. White, a veteran neo-Nazi, race-baiter, and all-around evil thug.