Friday, October 15, 2010


J-Review: Capehart is No Gay Kapo;
But He Is, Blanche!

Media criticism and accountability are at all an all-time low, and the Columbia Journalism Review is not much interested in raising standards. The CJR'S Joel Meares yesterday offered up the lamest defense of the WaPo's Jonathan "Kapo" Capehart and his sorry-ass puppet head-nodding performance as a top Obama adviser talked about a gay teen suicide a "lifestyle choice."

Meares writes:

Gay activist and blogger Michael Petrelis’s take was harsher and aimed at Capehart rather than Jarrett. Calling Capehart the Post’s “gay kapo,” Petrelis wrote [...]

Normally, I wouldn’t bother chiming in here; this is very much flash-in-the-blog-pan stuff that will likely disappear from Memeorandum before I’ve finished writing this. And we’re not ones to typically rush to the defense of Beltway boys when accused of access baiting.

However, it’s an issue close to me, and the suggestion that Capehart should ignore the bulk of what Jarrett is saying and instead call her out on the use a single antiquated phrase, seems, frankly, unfair (especially in an interview that was originally about infrastructure).

Hello, Mr. Media Critic? I hope you wouldn't say it unfair of an activist to demand a reporter call out a politician or high-level assistant if they were to refer to the Soviet Union as still standing.

Yes, I find it offensive when people use the term “lifestyle choice” to refer to an orientation, but Jarrett’s heart is clearly in the right place—to interject and challenge her on the use of the phrase after the sentences that preceded it is not only a distraction (Capehart is a journalist, not an activist) but counterproductive to the cause Petrelis is an activist for.

Is Meares a cardiologist or a press watchdog? His heart reference echoes what Capehart offered in meek explanation over not challenging Jarrett:

That's why I didn't correct her or ask her to explain herself during our sit-down at the White House. But viewers don't know her heart.

Back to CJR and Meares:

Similarly, smearing Capehart as a “gay kapo” is as unfounded as it is extreme. Capehart may be a Washington insider, flitting between the pages of The Washington Post and the studios of MSNBC—and he did launch a pretty spirited defense of Jarrett here—but he is also one of the mainstream media’s most visible, active voices on gay causes. 

Um, where is the proof he's ever criticized the Obama administration or that's he not a gay kapo? Click here for proof of Capehart sticking up for the White House on Don't Ask Don't Tell and criticizing the gays more than the administration.

And why is Meares touting Capehart as a great gay voice in the media supposedly for his gay community, when he's allegedly an unbiased reporter for the WaPo?

This week he has been particularly active in drawing attention to the tragic issue of gay suicides, not just by bringing it up with Jarrett, but in his television appearances and writings.

Sounds like he's been advocating for a cause, not that there's anything wrong with that, I just Meares and Capehart would stop trying to persuade readers that Capehart is anything less than a shill for the Obama administration. Capehart could set up shop tomorrow at the Human Rights Campaign and the tone of what he writes for the WaPo wouldn't change one iota.

2 comments:

Michael said...

this note is from bill in NYC:

From: William Dobbs [mailto:duchamp@mindspring.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 14, 2010 2:20 PM
To: 'jmearescjr@gmail.com'
Subject: bigger problem than capehart

There’s a bigger problem than Capehart’s own lifestyle (Remember that tip
that Bloomberg gave him for campaign work? It was direct deposited into his
bank account according to press accounts) or his choice of words with
Valerie Jarrett.
With all due respect for what CJR in print or online does
there are no serious platforms for press/media criticism in the NY market
and I doubt much in the DC market.
There are some critics with a wider,
national range such as Jack Shafer writing for Slate but that’s a lot of
waterfront to cover.
That Capehart is thought to be a major media voice on
gay matters is alarming enough.
I recall his first person piece while at
the (NY) Daily News about visiting a gay bath house to discover there were
men there who were looking for sex.
Gay coverage and punditry these days
compared to say two decades ago evinces a strong hegemony.
The party line
is propagated and enforced by large gay advocacy organizations, the gay
public relations operation known as GLAAD (which long ago stopped simply
working for fair and accurate coverage and now is essentially a publicist
for its gay organizational cohorts), reporters at mainstream outlets, and
the community press.
The party line is so tight the average consumer of
major and community media would hardly know there is anything but one
position on marriage, hate crime laws, gays in the military.

Ed said...

This just makes me want to puke. Are there no independent voices in the mainstream media? Do they ALL have to kiss establishment ass to keep their jobs?

Capehart is just a symptom. I kind of feel sorry for him - he seems to be rather touchingly unaware of how he toes the line like everyone else.

--Ed Sikov