As someone who has lived and worked in D.C. for most of the past two decades, I have faithfully read Loose Lips to get what has been until recently the very best journalism on D.C. politics. I was outraged by Loose Lips’ bizarre attribution of racial politics in the Peggy Cooper Cafritz item in your Aug. 25 issue, and the apology for that item in the Sept. 1 issue was so minimal as to make matters worse.
I detected defensiveness but no trace of apology for the baseless assignment of racial motives to local public figures, only a mea culpa for doing so in such a sloppy way that LL got caught calling Cooper Cafritz white. Given the clear lack of evidence for the implied motives in the story, it would have been less detectable but no less detestable had Cooper Cafritz been of all-Swedish ancestry. The real civic sin here is not the reckless disregard for the truth (although that is one for the journalistic record books), it is the race-baiting. As LL himself writes, few things matter in D.C. politics as much as race; this is true particularly because so many local politicians, activists, and columnists have used allegations of racial motives to advance their own agenda. Until he apologizes foror otherwise explains and changes such behaviorI will read the new LL less often and much more skeptically. I will also be inclined to assume that any analysis of racial factors is another of the columnist’s attempts to emulate the former mayor-for-life by playing the race card in pursuit of whatever agenda is distracting him from journalism.
LL’s brand of racial pot-stirring distracts people from the very real problems of the city schools, which have somehow become lavishly funded in per student expenditures while remaining administratively incompetent, physically decrepit, and educationally underperforming. The city, its schools, and the entire metro area deserve better than this sort of gratuitous divisiveness, and the Washington City Paper needs to live up to a higher standard.