I expect trash talk on talk radio. The radio station operators deliver it in super-sized portions because their target audience responds to it and keeps coming back for more. But I have higher expectations from the print medium.
Editors at The Washington Post this week demonstrated they do not have similarly high expectations of us.
In a story about the "suspicious" outcome of an election in South Carolina, it is suggested that the election was tainted by Louisiana. We may well marvel at the imaginative excuses South Carolina Democrats are concocting to explain the unexpected outcome of their recent primary; after all, desperate people will do desperate things.
But what shocked me is the absolute cavalier and reckless manner in which The Washington Post offers credence to the wild and unfounded accusation.
"Louisiana, after all, does political shenanigans more colorfully and brazenly than most," writes staff writer Mr. Manuel Roig-Franzia.
A reputable journalist would have written, “There is absolutely no evidence or fact to support the accusation.”
Ignoring the fact that political shenanigans are epidemic throughout America at all levels of politics, The Washington Post smugly invites readers to roll their eyes in group derision and disgust at the mere mention of the Bayou State. I wonder to what other dehumanizing stereotypes does Mr. Roig-Franzia subscribe?
You can easily imagine the thought process that drove the publication of this story. In lieu of fact-checking and respect for fellow Americans, the Post dumps mightily on an entire state with a chortle and a wink.
“Heck, fellas, it's LOUISIANA--what evidence is needed?”
I wrote to the Post to complain but received no response. Fortunately my sister-in-law in Virginia, who first alerted me to this insult of the entire population of Louisiana, also wrote. Her letter was published today.
It was suggested to me that defending the honor of Louisiana politicians is a fool’s campaign. But I don’t see this as defending our soiled past; this is defending our future. It is just as much about calling out the hypocrisy of the Post to call attention to the splinter in our eye while overlooking the timber in their own.
As my sister-in-law pointed out, “Convicted former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards is doing time in the penitentiary while convicted former D.C. mayor Marion Barry is doing time on the city council. Did somebody say ‘brazen’?”