PC Police 1, Alternative Media 0
by Tim Stelloh, February 18, 2010
The alt-weekly in Richmond, Virginia, apparently canned a reporter yesterday for calling a blind motivational speaker "a blind [expletive]."
We don't know what, exactly, the offending word was, as the only news account of the episode was published in a non-expletive friendly newspaper; nevertheless, the original comment was in an email sent to the blind guy's PR flack; the reporter had thought, of course, that when he punched the "send" button, said e-mail was going to his editor's in-box--not to Mr. PR's.
The reporter had gotten pissed because the flack kept hounding him about covering an event for this guy, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. That's why he called the guy "a blind" whatever. But after Mr. PR got the email, he sent out a press release saying the reporter's comment "reveals society's ongoing prejudice against the disabled."
The reporter's employer, Style Weekly, then fired their reporter, Chris Dovi, and posted the following statement on their website:
Following some interaction with a public relations professional, Chris wrote an e-mail to his editor and referred to the caller’s client, a motivational speaker with a disability, in language that violated the core values we hold sacred at Style. While he was regretful for the e-mail, it showed an unacceptable disregard for one of our chief missions at Style: to honor diversity as a company in all of our dealings with the community, and within Style’s hallways.
During his time at Style Weekly, Chris delivered to our readers work on the Americans With Disabilities Act and efforts to enforce it at Richmond Public Schools; stories on issues faced by at-risk and disabled children and the homeless; the health situation at Richmond City Jail; and helped organize the annual Hamaganza, a show that raises money for the Central Virginia Food Bank.
This is, of course, completely absurd. It sums up everything utterly maddening about reactionary, overly-PC lib-types. Why? Because--based on the above statement, anyway--this was clearly an aberration. This guy isn't Jayson Blair--there was no trail of untoward behavior to uncover. There was no pattern. There's no evidence he was actually a bigot--that he thought of the disabled as untouchables. He might have said something stupid, but why not let him apologize and leave it that--because if anything, the pattern was the opposite: He covered the lowest of the low, society's forgotten. He even raised cash for a food bank!
No matter. In the world of the PC Police, words apparently speak volumes.