The link discusses, in part, the case of LaToyia Figueroa, the missing Philadelphia-area woman whose search was aided by members of the blogging community in Philadelphia. It also contains some highly uncomplimentary words about said bloggers in general from Noel Weyrich, a writer with Philadelphia Magazine. I’m referring in particular to this:
News professionals know too well that nothing kills a promising story faster than a fuller grasp of the facts. You think you've got something special, but you make some calls, do some research, and end up with nothing worth pitching to an editor. Bloggers—unedited and unaccountable—get to run with whatever they have at hand. Dick Brain and his brethren bloggers (the Dick Brain Trust) live in a state of blissful ignorance because they are, in general, defiantly ill-informed amateurs. LaToyia was black, her disappearance was unnoticed, therefore it was unnoticed because she was black. Don't confuse them with the facts. Their minds are made up.How fortunate for you, Mr. Weyrich, that you can bring your formidable talents to bear and practice your craft with such notoriety. But I suppose you believe that only you and your MSM brethren can disseminate the news that is so critical to the process of dialogue and formulation of thought and opinion that is necessary if this country is to function as a truly democratic republic. And in the case of your publication, of course, such “news of the day” is conveniently flavored for your demographic and placed strategically so as not to interfere with your magazine’s true purpose, which is to promote often unnecessary cosmetic surgery, advertise junkets to trendy resorts, furtively disclose gossip about celebrities that many people don’t even know exist let alone care about, and shamelessly plug whichever “Jewelry Row” shyster happens to be running a sale that month.
I’ve never bothered to point this out before because it really isn’t something for anyone else to be concerned about, but I happen to be running this site gratis. My compensation is zero. Bupkes. Zilch. You got it? Sure, you could argue that it is partly a vanity exercise on my part, and to a small degree, I suppose your right. But as a member of the “Dick Brain Trust,” I feel obliged to defend myself against your attack.
I have pointed this out elsewhere, but apparently it is necessary for me to do so again here; if you and your colleagues were truly doing your jobs in reporting the news, either as straight news or features, there would be no need for me, or bloggers generally I suppose, to even exist. So maybe instead of grandiosely dismissing us in such vulgar fashion, you might actually recognize that we have something of worth to contribute.
And Weyrich continues to “dig his hole” with this:
Laci (Peterson)’s story was Hollywood. LaToyia's story—unmarried, scratching out a living, knocked up by some lowlife probationer—isn't. Push the hot button of race, however, and it's very easy to make an oversimplified case that the media puts a higher value on missing white women.This is truly funny. The media puts a higher value on white women generally, Noel, whether they’re missing or not (though it helps to get better ratings if they are). Rightly or wrongly (mostly the latter, I would guess), that is the rule of thumb. What do you think the reaction would have been to “the runaway bride” if she had been black, Asian, or Hispanic? Do you honestly think anyone would have noticed enough to even care?
The fact that you need to be reminded of that is astonishing.
Want more proof? What about Shoshanna Johnson? Lori Piestewa? Did they get much “face time” on TV? No, because it all went to Jessica Lynch. Even though all three were captured in Dubya’s illegal war (or killed, in the case of Piestewa), do you honestly think Lynch didn’t get the most coverage (and a heroic narrative to boot which turned out to be made up) because she was a pretty blonde?
Oh, but somehow bloggers such as myself, being members of the “Dick Brain Trust,” aren’t supposed to upstage our MSM “betters” by pointing that out and should kow tow and grovel at your feet instead.
Well, as Sisyphus said Noel, your magazine’s demographic is changing (think “urban contemporary”), and bilious attacks like this aren’t, I suspect, going to help you keep up with your new target audience. You should ask Larry Platt about how to approach this subject in the future, by the way, since I think he’s interested in actually having a dialogue about race as opposed to your idiotic rants.
Update 9/29: By the way, speaking of race, Bill Bennett has an absolutely charming idea about how to handle crime.
Update 10/05: Regarding the Bennett statement, Atrios nailed it yesterday when he criticized Richard Cohen’s column on it (if Cohen wants to criticize the Democrats for not having ideas, he should put forward a better argument than the one in his column). Also, here is another link to the Bennett dustup (again, sourced to Atrios) that has, I think, some important information to consider.