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“Half-pint” is about the amount of editorial judgment and reporting skill in Washington City Paper’s attack on Karen Currie and Stew Harris (“Bottled Fury,” 3/14). This District Line piece stands uncontestedwho would want the “honor”?as the news media’s prize-winner for race-baiting.
The article is an exploitative piece of journalism that revels in stereotyped racism at the expense of the North Lincoln Park community. Every quoted Trants supporter is black. Karen and Stewwhitestand alone in opposition to Trants except for Gilda Sherrod-Ali, a highly respected black lawyer, who is made a flunky for the racists. And of course, the Korean store owner falls true to type as well because he doesn’t understand English. The facts do not support these characterizations.
The brutal, biased, personal attack on Karen and Stew is a chilling notice to community members who challenge the status quo: exercise a rightthe protest of a liquor license, in this caseand you run the risk of a no-holds-barred City Paper attack. Paul Belden has no difficulty telling the world who needs “some lovin’,” or what Karen and Stew “get off on,” or repeating with adolescent glee “asshole,” as though the teacher had left the room for a few minutes. The facts of the disputed license never make it into print.
Public ridicule is a cruel weapon. Risk of humiliation by the press has deterred many people from participating in civic life, and we all are the poorer for it. As president of a neighborhood civic association and co-convener of another citywide association, I know firsthand the heavy burden on the lives of residents and on the resources of civic groups that pick up the slack of a dysfunctional government. It is intimidating to many to have legitimate efforts trashed in the press. Disagree with us on any issue? Fair enough. Print the facts and let’s discuss it.
The media editorialize on the chronically sad state of the District’s political process and ask why nothing ever changes and why new leadership does not emerge. City Paper could learn from Pogo, who concluded, “We have met the enemy and it is us.”
Karen Currie and Stewart Harris are among the best and most honorable of people contributing to the District. They also are my good friends. They are not the people depicted in the Trants story. City Paper owes them a four-column apology.