In the end, this can lead to no good: In this morning’s New York Times, the editors beat on Donald Sterling.
That isn’t especially hard to do, especially if you’re willing to reason like this:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (4/29/14): It has been widely noted that Mr. Sterling has a history of bigotry. In 2009, Elgin Baylor, the all-star and former Clippers’ general manager, accused Mr. Sterling of racial discrimination in an unsuccessful lawsuit. That same year, Mr. Sterling, who made much of his fortune in real estate, paid $2.725 million to settle a housing discrimination lawsuit brought by the Justice Department. Another federal lawsuit filed in 2003 accused Mr. Sterling of stating that he preferred not to rent to Latinos because “Hispanics smoke, drink and just hang around the building.” Incidents of this sort are what led the Nets guard Shaun Livingston to say of the TMZ tape: “I think it kind of tells the same story as what’s been told, if you pull up the record.”If a person is “accused” of something, does that mean he has a “history?” At the New York Times, it seems that it does!
You’d think that self-respecting journalists would avoid such clownish constructions. But on a journalistic basis, the New York Times editorial board has been an embarrassing mess for years.
Sterling has an embarrassing history, but so do quite a few others. In this morning’s sports section, Times columnist Julie Macur amplifies the story concerning Baylor:
MACUR (4/29/14): Now the Sterling problem has exploded in everyone's face, and it's time for the league and the team owners to act. None of them can feign ignorance. For years, they had their chance to stand up and be counted, to point out that Sterling was a dangerous liability for the league, and to press for his departure from their ranks.Even Macur almost seems to assume the accuracy of Baylor’s various charges.
Instead, they stepped aside while others complained about him, to no avail.
In 1988, he supposedly told Danny Manning's agent, ''I'm offering a lot of money for a poor black kid.'' That quote came from a discrimination lawsuit filed by Baylor, the Hall of Fame forward, in 2009.
That suit also accused Sterling of running his franchise with the mentality of a Southern plantation owner, as a man who preferred a team of ''poor black boys from the South'' who were ''playing for a white coach.''
Baylor lost the lawsuit, but among the most shocking parts of it—just like the most shocking aspect of the most recent accusations against Sterling—was how long Baylor put up with ''the Southern plantation'' mentality before standing up for himself.
It took him 23 years.
Even then, Baylor—one of the best players in league history—made his charges only after he had been fired.
Is it possible that Baylor may have embellished a tad in some of his more thrilling statements? If not, why did he hang around on that plantation for those 23 years?
At present, we’re chasing a scapegoat through the streets. When we do that, all claims are assumed to be accurate. Everyone enjoys the old-fashioned thrill of a good, cleansing chase.
Journalists are supposed to temper the mob at such moments. That said, we’ve had very few journalists in our press corps in recent decades.
We’re in a frenzy, and frenzies are fun. In the process, our eyes are kept off the prize—and make no mistake:
The “press corps” which stages this frenzy today will turn around on a moment’s notice. They will stage another frenzy, one aimed at you and yours.
This syndrome has played out for decades. Liberal and progressive goals have been massacred in the process.