Right here in (Three) River City!
Trouble with a capital "T"
And that rhymes with "B" and that stands for...
Brainless? Block? Bigotry?
A few days ago, on Martin Luther King day, the Post-Gazette published this editorial. You know when (and I'm certainly not the first person to say this) someone opens a discussion by saying, "I don't want to sound racist, but..." you know they're going to say something racist.
(By the way you can substitute "sexist" or "homophobic" with above with roughly the same result.)
Well, the editorial opens with:
Calling someone a racist is the new McCarthyism. The charge is pernicious. The accuser doesn’t need to prove it. It simply hangs over the accused like a great human stain.This is someone hoping to be able to say unchallenged something they presume will be seen as racist but while at the same time not wanting to defend themselves from being called a racist. Because they know they're not. It's the people who point out racism and intolerance that are the real racist intolerant ones, amirite? MAGA!
Word quickly got around that the Post-Gazette's editorial board did not write that editorial published by the Post-Gazette. It was written in Toledo for the Toledo Blade (who published it a day earlier) at the behest of the two papers' owner, John Block.
This John Block:
I wonder how Block feels about his "interesting" and "memorable" friend (that's how Block referred to Trump in the caption of this tweet) paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for the silence some adult film actors.
The backlash was loud and proud. The CityPaper snagged the story.
The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments were not happy:
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has done our community and the cause of justice a grave disservice with its lead editorial, “Reason as Racism,” published of all days on Martin Luther King Day, when we as a nation commemorate the ongoing fight to end racism in our country.And some former P-G staffers were even unhappier:
Repeated verbatim from an opinion piece printed Saturday in its sister publication the Toledo Blade, the editorial is a silly mix of deflection and distortion that provides cover for racist rhetoric while masquerading as a defense of decency. It is unworthy of a proud paper and an embarrassment to Pittsburgh.
As former Post-Gazette staff members, we are writing to express our anger at the content, tone and timing of Monday’s editorial.Ya got trouble...
The piece seeks to excuse President Trump’s disparaging remarks about nations of color, while also limiting the term “racist” to the narrowest and most violent forms of the practice, as if it no longer exists.
This is not the Post-Gazette we knew.
As a group, our personal politics and worldviews were often at odds. Newspapers are not a place for a single brand of personality or intellect. But we all shared the core values of journalism: fairness, accuracy, careful thought, and common decency.
An editorial saying, “so what” to a president referring to African countries as “shitholes,” and suggesting that the definition of racism be confined to the likes of racist mass-murderer Dylann Roof or segregationist sheriff Bull Connor, who set police dogs on civil rights demonstrators, basically surrenders the cause of civil rights.
Racism is more than overt violence. It is the systematic degradation of people through practices and institutions that are so pervasive we cease to recognize them in our own lives. It is dismissing a politician’s horrible remarks as “coarse” but meaningless, when words are the very tools of governance. It is suggesting that racist is an invalid term unless someone has met a standard so narrow that it excuses discrimination that is little more than apartheid without the violence.
Notably, racism is also saying these things in print, in a major newspaper, on Martin Luther King Day.