A telling anecdote in a column in yesterday’s DetNews. A respected former news anchor is speaking about the pervasive bias against African-American history in today’s newsrooms and offers this as proof:
WDIV sent the reporter airborne [in a helicopter] as part of a story about renovations to a safe house on the Underground Railroad. Dutifully, she called back to the newsroom. “We found the house, and we found some railroad tracks,” she said, “but I can’t find the place where the tracks went underground.”
You know, I wouldn’t waste half a minute arguing against the idea of pervasive bias against African Americans, in newsrooms and elsewhere — racism is simply part of the fabric of the nation. But in this case? Um, no. A journalist who doesn’t know the Underground Railroad wasn’t a choo-choo train that traveled through subterranean tunnels probably doesn’t know who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb, either.
He’s giving the wrong speech. This one is from “Got Makeup? Great moments in TV journalism.”
Polyurethane Day One commences with a disappointment — there will have to be a Polyurethane Day Two. The humidity is too high to allow two coats today, but as many have pointed out, it’ll be worth it. And because whining about home improvement is the world’s most boring topic, let’s limit it to three sentences, eh?
A couple weeks ago the Wall Street Journal had a story on Zillow.com, the real-estate spy site that has everybody snooping on everybody else. Went there and Zillow’d my own house first. It estimated it at $100,000 less than we paid for it, pegged the taxes at about half their current level, undershot the square footage by 20 percent and dropped a bathroom. So much for that. It got closer on our Ann Arbor rental, but had nothing at all for our Fort Wayne abode; the Fort’s not yet in the database.
Fort Wayne’s never in the database. Poor Fort Wayne. The latest candidate to be named as a possible buyer for my old newspaper is Black Press, a Canadian company. At first I thought, “Black? Canadian? Could this possibly have a connection to disgraced press mogul Conrad Black?” (I figured maybe there could be a $300,000 consulting contract to be had for reading the paper and discussing it with the publisher.) But no — different outfit. If, indeed, this Canadian company buys The News-Sentinel, it will settle in with such siblings as the Lake Cowichan Gazette and Kamloops This Week. What a stunning comedown. When Alan got promoted he was sent off for a few days of KR management training (aka “Prick School”) in Miami. He ate Cuban food in Little Havana and watched people feed romaine lettuce to the manatees in Biscayne Bay.
Then it looked as though Gannett would buy the paper. Then a chain based in Fargo (where there are no manatees). Now it seems whoever offers $299 for the office equipment can just walk in, slip a halter and lead rope over the heads of the few staffers worth leading to yet another auction ring and throw a match over their shoulders as they exit the building. I used to take a certain amount of pride in working in America’s smallest two-newspaper market. With the sale of the Philly dailies, the story of KR’s dejected dozen effectively ends. No one cares who ends up owning the paper in places like Duluth, Wilkes-Barre and the Fort, do they? I guess we’ll find out.
Finally, the internet has spawned many puzzling success stories, but none more so than Glenn Reynolds, who has built a career as a pundit on such Chance-the-gardenerisms as “heh” and “indeed,” and now seems to have even the Wall Street Journal buffaloed. Read this and tell me if it makes a damn lick of sense to you, because it didn’t make any to me.
Oh, and P.S. The Reynoldses have one (1) child themselves. I guess parenthood just wasn’t prestigious enough for them.