Knee-Jerk Journalism

Suppose someone of no — or negative — consequence threw a self-serving photo-op, media availability and no one showed? The (refreshing) result: The uncovered, non-news event would remain non news – not unlike the cat that did not get stuck in the tree, the train that did not derail, the Democrat who did not get nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court and the apology and refund check that did not get proffered by Rafael Vinoly.

That’s the sort of scenario that should have played out recently in St. Petersburg, where career irritant Dwight “Chimurenga” Waller is running for city council. Again.

Only this time the strident president of the Uhuru Movement chose Mayor Rick Baker’s house as a cheap-shot backdrop for his what-else-is-new? announcement. And in stimulus-response, ambulance-chasing fashion, the press – and precious few others — was there. More gratuitous light for a minor media moth.

It’s Waller’s contention that Baker hasn’t done much for Midtown, a historically impoverished section. It’s Waller’s strategy to hector everybody – but Midtowners – about Midtown. As if investors shouldn’t concern themselves with drugs, street crime and a victimization mindset. As if Baker, despite Midtown’s entrenched problems, hadn’t been working on cleaning up parks and expediting some impressive commercial development there.

Waller is a race-baiting, one-trick pony who hasn’t made himself or his movement part of any solution. They are a case for adding by subtracting.

Out of deference to Baker (and his family’s privacy), respect for a reasonable definition of what is “news” and defiance for political correctness, the media should have forsaken its lemming instinct and been a no-show to a non-event.

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