As a supporter of Socialist Workers Party (SWP) candidate Mary Martin, I found Loose Lips’ “report” on the D.C. Council chair campaign (7/18) far more revealing about Washington City Paper’s approach to covering politics in this city than about the election itself.
Over the last several weeks, I and other Martin supporters have set up tables at street fairs (Mount Pleasant, Gay Pride Day) and in neighborhoods throughout the city, distributed literature in English and Spanish, and talked to hundreds of D.C. residents. Martin has been out campaigning constantly, as the Washington Post belatedly confirmed with its extensive feature on the Socialist campaign in its July 17 issue.
By contrast, the City Paper has ignored SWP press releases and refused all coverage of the campaign outside of the usual snide dismissals. And now comes Loose Lips with the insulting complaint that Martin has “virtually disappeared since getting her name on the ballot last April.”
Considering that the City Paper generally, and LL in particular, rail weekly against D.C. “politics as usual,” why this haughtiness toward a candidate you yourself praise for trying to “break the Democratic Party’s death grip” on D.C.? Why does a candidate who doesn’t belong to the discredited political class and doesn’t inhabit the Judiciary Square scene immediately fall off your credibility radar screen? Would you have behaved this way had Martin
been a candidate of the Republican, Libertarian or Umoja parties, none
of which saw fit to challenge Linda Cropp despite the deepening crisis in this city and the persistent make-the-workers-pay ideology of her and her ilk in city government?
I suspect not, which leads me to believe that the real reason for your silence is that the SWP’s program opposing social service cuts, defending workers’ rights, and calling for jobs for all challenges too directly the City Paper’s austerity-is-hip, wage-earners-have-it-too-good party line. In the end, it only means that while the City Paper prides itself on telling the truth other papers won’t about D.C. politics, in fact it is a resolute, if cute, defender of the status quo.
So go on with your outsider, throw-out-the-bums shtick, LL. They’ll still love you in the council chambers and at press conferences downtown, and after this election, there’ll be smiles and winks all around.