Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wait, This Lede Is Even Worse....

How did this tasteless, convoluted and obviously inaccurate Alan Feuer lede, atop the reporter's useless puff piece on the Rev. Al Sharpton's Harlem office, get past the editors on the Metro desk and into today's paper?

Given the excitements of the past two weeks — the downfall, say, of the Bradley effect, or the (supposedly) remarkable voting patterns of the white working class — one could be excused for having thought that racial strife was over in America, that race itself could now be looked at quaintly, like an Edsel or a phone booth, as a vestige of the past.

If that’s the case, however, then what is one to make of the bustling private office of the Rev. Al Sharpton? Every day — including Election Day — its telephones ring off the hook with complaints about bias in the workplace, prejudice in the classroom, deployments of injurious slurs, and abuse by the police.

The piece itself is unnecessary and pointless -- supposing, wrongly, that anyone in New York might be curious about what Al Sharpton's office looks like. But the lede builds off an offensive and obviously false assumption, only to be knocked down in the second paragraph.

To use the Obama election as a means to assume that race no longer matters is foolish. And to put that idea forward in the Times, even in passing or in jest, demonstrates a shocking level of insensitivity to the racial issues that still divide this country.

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