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I think David Carr needs an invite to Rising Tide

April 12, 2010

To the extent I’m aware of David Carr’s work, which is primarily via his pop culture pieces in the NYT, and tweeting, I’ve usually thought of him as fairly insightful. Today, not quite as much.  Today, Mr. Carr appears to be afflicted with a touch of tone deafness  (and I’m not just talking about the way he pronounces Biloxi).

In a brief video piece in the NYT Media Decoder blog, Carr muses a bit on Gulf Coast newspapers, — and I’m not saying anything against either of these newspapers —the NYT, Creighton Burnette’s rants, and Pulitzers. Granted, he does put an “in part” in there, but then he ends with the statement that without these journalistic crutches, Creighton wouldn’t have had much to say and “Treme” probably wouldn’t have been made:

“I think it’s important on the day the Pulitzers are handed out to remember that the reason he [John Goodman] and Mr. Simon were able to come up with that character, make those speeches, was due in part to the Times-Picayune, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, which won Pulitzers for their reporting. The New York Times has also done a lot of ongoing infrastructure reporting about New Orleans. It’s worth thinking about because great stories are often the result of great facts.

Without good, solid reporting, there probably isn’t something called “Treme.”

I’m not saying Mr. Carr’s heart is in the wrong place, I’m just pointing out he doesn’t seem to know much about New Orleans, Treme, or David Simon, or that, if he does know, he is omitting some pretty relevant facts.  In addition to missing, or ignoring, Simon’s mentions of Ashley in the media, and having no apparent knowledge of the day in/day out efforts of the NOLA bloggers and others to keep the stories about faulty infrastructure, no schools, corruption, and general widespread misery in the forefront, Mr. Carr doesn’t seemed to have watched the last season of The Wire or read very much about the extra warm spot David Simon has deep in his heart for the Pulitzer Prize.

  1. April 12, 2010 3:34 pm

    Lucky is David Carr for the facts fly forward in the wind and land smack dab only in his journalist brain where they take root and are properly tended into publishable articles. I’ll go delete my blog now.

    Update: According to the fact-loving media, we’re natural-disaster-denying conspiracy theorists. Carr can keep his damned Pulitzer; I want levees.

  2. scout permalink
    April 12, 2010 4:40 pm

    Well just a bit of fact reveiw….Creighton Burnette’s rants are about the levee failures. Now anyone watching tv could see the breaks where the levees had failed. The real story of why they failed wasn’t to be determined until April 2006 when the Army Corp of engineers admitted before a Senate hearing that their design failure was the cause and this came out in large part because people wanted to know where the heck were the much promised FEMA Flood Maps…well FEMA didn’t have them because ACOE couldn’t certify the levees to national flood insurance standards without getting $6 billion dollars.

    It’s not as though reporters unearthed this story. In fact at the time the Times Picayune was the ONLY paper which even carried the story. As well as a whole lot of bloggers. The national press was awol
    The rest of the country didn’t report it until that summer when ACOE released their report.

  3. April 12, 2010 4:50 pm

    Scout, who would you say did the unearthing?

  4. scout permalink
    April 12, 2010 5:01 pm

    It just came out in a hearing.
    I think as a result of lack of FEMA flood maps. At the time they were waiting for FEMA flood maps to guide reconstruction. FEMA had postponed their release several times and were taking flack. Finally they said we can’t do them until ACE certifies the levees. And ACE said it needed $6 billion to do so because they admitted it was their design failure and they needed to re-examine all the levees.
    It just all came out

  5. Elspeth Ravenwind permalink
    April 12, 2010 5:06 pm

    VT, you gave me quite a start – “David Carr” – after years of his subpar, even if pretty, quarterbacking of the Texans, I totally didn’t know of the more literate version…

  6. scout permalink
    April 12, 2010 5:13 pm

    Others may have more to add. There were independent scientists examing the levees as well.

    I guess what always struck me and why I brought it up was the total lack of press coverage given what a stunning admission this was…it was the great story based on great facts and no one other than the local media covered it. So as time went on press and media coverage became very spotty making me think at least that Carr shouldn’t claim so much ownership of where Treme springs from

  7. April 12, 2010 5:22 pm

    It’s the latter that irked me. He makes it sound like the free press delivered the downtrodden citizenry and inspired Simon. I don’t remember every particular of each issue but I do remember, as do we all, the constant struggle from the ground up, of “regular” people and the blogosphere, to bring so many issues to light and keep the focus on them long after the commercial media stopped, or before they started – like Karen G and the NOAH thing. If I recall, she pulled Zurik and others into that story, right?

  8. scout permalink
    April 12, 2010 5:27 pm

    Yes I believe that was how that occured.

  9. April 12, 2010 5:28 pm

    Well, and like, what is his solution here? What the fuck does he want the world to do about it? Should we all bow down once a day in the direction of the New York Times so as to prove our love? Should anyone who says anything about anything be required to cite a source? Which is fucking rich, anyway, coming from a big city newspaper reporter whose organization is built on the reporting of smaller papers which are rarely, if ever, acknowledged.

    Jesus, the NYT is like the king of bigfooting, and he wants to bitch? I could tell him some stories about how his people behave when they helicopter into a Chicago neighborhood and poke around for two days and write The Definitive Pulitzer Piece for an audience of white businessmen in Manhattan.

    I am so over bitter journalism whining, so completely fucking over it. Either do something productive with your life or shut the fuck up. You don’t like how nobody appreciates newspaper work anymore? Go talk to the people who decimated those papers while telling consumers they were stupid. Better yet, go do some good work and try to get it appreciated. You don’t like how David Simon doesn’t appreciate you? Go whine to him, I’m not your fucking therapist.

    Here’s a newsflash: Nobody appreciates you. Nobody appreciates anybody. Jesus Christ, has complaining about how hard you work ever in the history of man made anyone actually notice how hard you work? What a fucking adolescent attitude. We are all underappreciated. That’s how the world works. That’s what it’s like all the time. You either get over it and keep on being a good and decent person doing stuff you want to do, or you go join the Tea Party. God.

    Longer post about this later, when I’m less sober and goddamn angry.


  10. April 12, 2010 5:29 pm

    you know me well enough to know I don’t know a damn thing about sports

  11. April 12, 2010 5:32 pm

    A, Carr didn’t bitch about blogs – he didn’t mention them or regular people AT ALL. The newspapers did it all by themselves singlehandedly, sort of, is what he’s saying. No pulitzer award winning coverage, no knowledge , no words for Creighton to rant, no Treme at all.

    It was, imho, a glaring sin of omission. Not to mention the irony of even mentioning David Simon and the Pulitzers in the same breath with no qualification at all of the very well documented context. To me, that’s even more bizarre- was he trying to make the veins in Simon’s head pop out or something?

  12. April 12, 2010 5:38 pm

    Yeah, because without the People of New Orleans, there would have been SOOO many stories to tell to win Pulitzer Prizes for.


    Sometimes you see somebody trying to hang a thought on a news peg, like the prizes being announced today, and you just go, “Oh, honey, no.”


  13. scout permalink
    April 12, 2010 5:44 pm

    OK to be fair the TP had done reporting on levee failure like this as cited by Pulitzer–

    I still feel Carr seems to be horning in

  14. April 12, 2010 5:49 pm

    Also, it’s like what Oyster posted the other day about that Slate piece.

    When an otherwise positive mention contains a glaring error/omission, it’s worse because there’s less reason to doubt the veracity.

    What do you guys think- are we to just let these larger mischaracterizations go by, like the magical Hubig’s pie? Cause this isn’t Simon or Treme saying these things, this is the regular media not getting the larger story that the fiction is based on.

  15. April 12, 2010 5:51 pm

    I’m not saying Mr. Carr’s heart is in the wrong place, I’m just pointing out he doesn’t seem to know much about New Orleans, Treme, or David Simon

    Hey, c’mon. He knows as much about this stuff as Kermit Ruffins knows about Keynesian economics.

    And you know I love that they worked in the phrase “Keynesian economics” somehow.

  16. April 12, 2010 5:55 pm

    AshMo called out the Corps in his original FYYFF post in November 05:

    which is light on details but predates Marshalls Pulitzer worthy article on December 30. And details were coming out as early as October about the levees not being built to spec, and if I recall correctly we were all jabbering about it at the time:

  17. scout permalink
    April 12, 2010 5:55 pm

    How many years did we all not let it go by with our blogging yet the crap persists. I don’t know what to do or say. It all seemed so frustrating and stupid because there ARE basic facts.
    Then again how many people think Obama is not a citizen?
    I mean what can you do

  18. April 12, 2010 7:14 pm

    This is kinda sad about David Carr – his “Night of the Gun” is brilliant.

    BUT, in his book, he does pick on something very important that he could still yet do if he weren’t so big on the role the MSM supposedly played in all of this – how vital it was for him to go back and check records on himself and ask people in his life the painful questions that would lead to the truth about how he’d been as a drug-addled-yet-functional-fuckup and how he’d turned himself around. Would that he could turn such a unblinking eye on his current attitude about Treme.

  19. April 12, 2010 9:28 pm

    It has been a constant despite our ongoing efforts online and beyond. I must confess I often feel completely beaten down by it. Especially living so far from it all now that we are in Cincy.

    Of course then I think about the fact that if the BS continues and our blogs don’t then there is no source of decent info for people to unearth. It’s not much, but it IS important. I’m glad Treme has come along, good or bad it is already re-energizing my desire to write!

  20. April 12, 2010 10:21 pm

    Oh, and Virgo, the better link for education stuff in New Orleans would be G’s been burning up the interwebs with her posts on the backgrounds of the RSD personnel and how (un)qualified they are for their job descriptions.

  21. April 13, 2010 12:42 pm

    It must be noted that Mr. Carr, via Twitter, gave a link to this post, and also included one to a great article he did for the Times in September of ’05 on efforts by local historic preservationists following Katrina

    It seems he may take issue with the map in our header though

  22. April 14, 2010 12:16 pm

    Just saw a tweet of his today saying he just landed in NOLA, so hoping he’ll do some good on the ground stuff. (Tweet didn’t mention anything to do w/Treme)

  23. April 14, 2010 12:45 pm

    From the Greater New Orleans Data Center site: a map of Treme proper and its bounding streets.

    Also, this and from all city planning events I’ve ever been to: “its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are Esplanade Avenue to the north, North Rampart Street to the east, St. Louis Street to the south and North Broad Street to the west.”

    Don’t tell someone who walked on Robertson St. everyday for seven years where Storyville or Treme is and isn’t.

  24. April 14, 2010 3:31 pm

    Just for the record, you aren’t really inviting this fuckmook to RT, are you?

  25. April 14, 2010 3:32 pm

    Unless we can get John Goodman to throw him in the Industrial Canal. I’d pay extra to see that.

  26. April 14, 2010 3:48 pm

    I haven’t invited him anywhere. But I did tweet about the post and he responded. Then today, I saw his tweet about arriving in NOLA.

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