Monday, March 01, 2004

Straightening Howie Out

Howard Kurtz, pseudo media critic for the Washington Post, engages in the saddest form of media of equivocation that I have seen in quite some time. In today's column he offers:
When San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom defied state law by allowing same-sex marriage licenses, a New York Times profile reported him sporting "a wide grin," "describing his motives as pure and principled," and cited his "business acumen, money, good looks and friends in the right places."

But when Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore also defied the law -- by installing a Ten Commandments display in his public building -- a Times profile said that "civil liberties groups accused Justice Moore of turning a courthouse into a church," while allowing that he had also become "an Alabama folk hero."

On the editorial page, the Times criticized Moore, likening him to George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door, but supports Newsom's protest and gay marriage.

The essential difference between Newsom and Moore: Moore's notoriety came from his defiance of a court order, a fact which is even more noteworthy when we recall that Moore was at the time the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Newsom, on the other hand, is not in violation of any court order and I have seen nothing which suggests he would violate a court order a la Moore.

It really is that simple. Moore wheeled his Ten Commandments display in one night. He was sued. No one in the national media payed much attention. A federal judge ruled against him and set a deadline for removal. Still, no one in the national media payed much attention. The deadline approached and a sitting judge announced his intentions to defy a valid court order. The national media started paying attention. Newsom cannot even come close to this. He may deserve many things depending on where you sit, but he does not deserve a parallel comparison to Roy Moore. Shame on you Kurtz.

The particularly sad fact contained in Kurtz's column- noting as he is that Newsom has received positive press and Moore received negative press- is the general media's awareness of the difference and Kurtz's obliviousness to the point.


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