Herald on Gates: all Sharpton, all the time


In today's Herald, columnist Peter Gelzinis accuses Skip Gates of exploiting his recent arrest--equating him in the process with Al Sharpton, whose reaction to the Gates Affair the Herald made sure to highlight yesterday:

As it turns out, there won't be any need for Rev. Al to exploit the incident on Ware Street, because Skip Gates has decided he's going to create a full-length documentary for PBS based on his arrest.

"The idea never crossed my mind," Gates told The Washington Post yesterday, "but it has now."

I expect the documentary will soon be prefaced by Skip's 10,000-word treatise in The New Yorker.

Exploitation can assume many forms - including Skip Gate's sudden decision to train his historian/journalist eye on the subject of racial profiling. Obviously, there's no need to ask why he wasn't moved to make such a documentary before yesterday.

While I don't doubt Skip Gates could produce a compelling piece, I'm not optimistic for one reason: Gates is already insisting that Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley must first apologize for placing him under arrest outside his home.

"If so," Gates told the Washington Post, "I will be prepared to forgive him." That doesn't sound like a dispassionate attempt to get to the truth of the police response to a 911 call for a possible B & E.

My first question: if Gelzinis ever believed that he was the victim of a grievous wrong, as Gates clearly does in this case, would he use his columnist's perch to pursue a "dispassionate attempt to get at the truth"? Or would he, instead, rip the shit out of the parties responsible?

Also in today's Herald: Joe Fitzgerald sticks up for the cop who arrested Gates, and plays the Sharpton card with relish.

Which brings me to my second question: why, exactly, does the Herald insist on mentioning Sharpton so frequently in connection with this story?

[Cross-posted at Beat the Press]

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