Friday, November 19, 2010

Editorial: An example needs to be made of Rangel (updated)

Here's an example of how squandering your journalistic credibility makes you look idiotic later.

The unnamed Courier editor sits in ponderous judgment of Charlie Rangel, a legislator who's done more good for the country than the Courier could ever do in its entire history. And Rangel did indeed do some dumb things and bring some tarnish on the House, and a clean ethics process is good for government, so I have to say that the editor and I agree on the bones of the issue.

But for the decade and a half that I've been watching this newspaper, the editor has uniformly failed to support a clean ethics process when Republicans were in the dock for much more egregious abuse of their offices, or when they should have been, but Republican majorities turned a blind eye. That makes the editor's position now clearly partisan, undermining the values that he hopes to uphold. This is confirmed in that he avoids mention that Rangel has been brought to account entirely by Democratic leadership. We haven't seen Republicans cleaning their own house in this manner.

Further, the paper's record of racist leanings regarding the browner members of our community forces the reader to consider the idea that the editor's upbraiding of Rangel, who is black and represents an important black constituency, may have darker motivations.

The paper would do well to look harder at itself before casting stones.

Addendum, 1pm: I just happen to be reading a little on the history of the Yavapai people, and I noticed a reference to an editorial in the Arizona Miner, one of the Courier's progenitors, calling for their extermination. That racist history goes back to the beginning.

Update,  Nov 24: With today's conviction of the amazingly shameless fixer and Dancing With the Stars contestant Tom Delay, threatening a sentence of up to life in prison, I'll look forward to the Courier editorial urging the court to throw the book at him. Any minute now.