Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Heart Bleeds for C. Ray Nagin

He's had just about enough.

Go watch his interview on WWL.

Watch it. The transcript is here.

Mayor Nagin goes on a long tirade against the local television station, the Times-Picayune, talk radio, and internet critics.

He essentially believes that biased mainstream coverage of his administration is fueling racist, violent chatter on the internet and on the radio that makes him increasingly fearful of some kind of crazed attacker. He believes that the coverage of his administration is personal.

He believes that he's doing a great job for the recovery of the city. He couldn't be working any harder if he tried. He honestly believes he's doing a great job. He thinks that those with criticisms of his administration are just a bunch of Landrieu allies or New Orleans elites.

Now of course, in a couple of regards, the man is delusional.

He is doing a lackluster job as Mayor. I think his administration has been a disaster. I can't even tell you why right now, the reasons are too numerous. Google him, it's obvious.

I think Dangerblond's feelings are probably most emblematic about how most citizens of New Orleans consider Mr. Nagin:

We are all just impatiently waiting until you leave office. We know that we are stuck with you for the duration, and you don’t give a damn what we think. I don’t know what you think you’ve accomplished with yet another incoherent emotional outburst. You are an incompetent buffoon, but you are a duly elected incompetent buffoon. You lie when telling the truth would be easier. We’ve got a major city with major problems, but don’t worry, baby. The spotlight’s still on you.

You're famous, C. Ray Nagin. Mission accomplished.

But...

I actually want to work with you on something...

There was something I think you were trying to say that we might be able to agree on.

I believe that the mainstream media in this town has been unfair.

Local TV, the Times-Pic, and talk radio treat you as a personality and not as a politician. They attack you on things like the gun photograph and the fact that you spend a lot of time outside of the city. I also find this coverage objectionable.

I'd like the media to ask you about your failed policies. I want the papers to pin you down on your 19th Century approach to homelessness in the face of an overwhelming body of academic social science that repudiates your policy. (Katy Reckdahl's piece in today's T-P on homelessness is one of the better articles I've seen in this town in months, a must read) I want reporters to ask you pointed questions about the imminent health threat list and the illegal demolition of homes right out from under their owners. I want reporters to ask you about your Chief of Police and his policies. I want you to answer questions about the roadblocks your administration has in place to slow down the work of Inspector General Robert Cerasoli. I want you to explain why the public housing demolitions are a good idea. I want you to reach out to those still in FEMA cancer cans and help relocate them to safe housing.

We have serious questions, Mr. Mayor. And I agree with you. You shouldn't have to deal with stories based on an out-of-context photograph of you with a gun. That's stupid stuff

You should have to deal with stories that question why we bought the guns and the tanks in the first place, given our stated desire to allocate funding toward community policing.

So I agree with you about the local mainstream sources.

And I agree with you about the racism on the internet.

It is disgusting.

(At least, I figured that you meant the NOLA.com comments sections when you mentioned your distaste for what's being said on "blogs." My blog, and the blogs that I read ask pointed questions about recovery issues. We try to challenge our elected officials and attempt to spark a reasonable discourse in our comments sections.)

So, I'm assuming that you mean the NOLA.com comments. Those are racist and disgusting. The atmosphere there is vile and uncomfortable. I don't touch it. I don't want those types of people anywhere near my blog.

So let's work together. Let's get the mainstream local media to ask you more pointed questions about your administration's policy and implementation strategies.

AND

Let's get the Times-Picayune to remove racist comments from its website. Most other newspapers do this on their website. Most other major newspaper websites are easy to navigate and make an attempt to engage the public in an elevated discourse from time to time. Most other major newspaper websites are a tool for bloggers and concerned citizens of all types. NOLA.com is only a hindrance. Clearly, even, it represents a safety threat to you and your family. If you agree that it has become a catchall location for white supremacists and Aryans, then use your influence to get it shut down. I'll commend you for it. And you'll have plenty of temporary allies from people that read actual blogs.

Then I'll criticize you for using your time to using your time to wage personal battles against the Times-Picayune instead of solving the affordable housing crisis or something.

How does that sound?

5 comments:

Carmen said...

Because, as we know, "the illegal demolition of homes right out from under their owners" inclusive of "the public housing demolitions" doesn't put anyone else's family at risk.

And what was he talking about here? "I don’t appreciate the fact that I’m being exposed and my family is being exposed now. That was not part of this deal." Deal? What deal was that, Ray? Curious word.

Duff said...

Little known fact: NOLA.com is not owned or controlled by the T-P. They merely provide content, which NOLA.com then uses as it sees fit. A T-P photographer told us they (the TP) are not super-pleased with NOLA.com's "editorial" decisions.

So, while the T-P probably has some sway with NOLA.com, they aren't directly tied to it. Thus, they can't take down the incredibly racist comments themselves.

Anonymous said...

Duff, that's interesting.

I don't believe there's any reason they couldn't restore their authority to control their own content online.

Especially to delete vulgar and racist commentary... they can definitely get the password for that, can't they?

Duff said...

My theory: They start editing the discussion forums, they start getting closer to legal liability for stuff they miss.

E said...

What I think they should do is eliminate comments sections for serious news articles... those are not the place for commentary - the NYTimes does not have a comments section for their hard news articles.

then they should develop actual online content: actual blogs. those comments sections should be moderated by the writers and readers..

then there can be a rants and raves forum where anything goes...