Thursday, May 17, 2007

At last: The City Paper goes crazy on Murray Waas

[In deference to a commenter, I'd warn anyone coming here searching for something substantive and free of my own admittedly vacuous personal animus, that you're going to be shit out of luck! You six fans of my snarky ways are invited to read on.]

Well, at long last, the City Paper has published their lengthy diatribe about Murray Waas (a famous fray we got glancingly and tangentially lumped into after receiving word from sources inside the CP that they had placed this blog under scrutiny--and, no, we have NO IDEA how one thing ended up following the other--in some circles, it is assumed that at one point, I was suspected of being the blogger Circumlocutor, it's also possible that this blog was conflated with that one (it's also possible that Wemple and Cherkis are stone morons! and it's also possible that saying so over and over again upsets them!)). It's as damning as promised, but: What does any of it have to do with the goings-on of Washington, DC? A sweet shit-ton of nothing, save for the fact that the terminally self-absorbed editor and writer of the piece both continue to burden the 202 with their presence.

We look forward to reading the whole thing. We've already read Jason Cherkis' self-defense, in which he basically admits to being as Bush-league a reporter as we've always suspected, even as he builds an exclupatory case that would be convincing to anyone who's not aware of the hit piece he penned on his former roommates after they got sick of him. (Betcha he wishes he hadn't written that now! OH, WHO AM I KIDDING?

Anyway, it's sure to get interesting. And by interesting, I mean "dull."

NOTE: Oh, and yes. What's the practical upshot, should you choose to read the fifty kabillion words dedicated to this self-managed "story?" Well, either Waas or the City Paper are lying, in whole or in part. Take comfort in the fact, though, that none of this has any bearing to your life. None of this is relevant to anyone outside the subject or authors of the story.

Waas has accusations of his own that demand a response--God knows it won't be long in coming!--but, that said, both parties are on the record now saying things that you have to just take their word are true. Whose word am I more likely to take at this point? I think you can guess, and for my part (the only part that really matters), it's not without foundation. But! Fair is fair, right? Right now, the balance is tipped slightly back to center. But only slightly. Suck up to me, everyone!

UPDATE: Ha. Now I've read the piece so you don't have to. Basically, the pot calls the kettle black, atramentous, brunet, charcoal, coal, dusky, ebon, ebony, inklike, jet, melanoid, nigrescent, nigrous, obsidian, onyx, piceous, pitch, pitch-dark, raven, sable, shadowy, and slate.

An early comment offers some ironic hilarity:

"i'm used to interesting, well-researched pieces from the city paper [ed. You're kidding, right?], usually about the "little guy", and i look forward to reading the paper. however, today, i'm struck by what an appalling slam job this "murray waas against the world" is! murray waas may not be perfect (who among us is?) but he's clearly a better journalist than the "writers" who fashioned this lengthy, supposedly cover-worthy example of character assassination. waas, even wemple and cherkis admit, is after the bad guys, high crimes, that sort of things. so, i ask myself-- where's the get? or to quote wemple and cherkis, "what's the news here?". and seriously, how many of us have acrimonious landlord stories in our past? puh-lease."

Emphasis mine, for the obvious reason.


Anonymous said...

I don't know who you are, but I searched technorati for the inevitable blogger backlash against this story -- and hey! you came up first. So, are you going to actually try to refute the details of the piece, or are you just gonna leave this vacuous response as your only one? The piece is hardly a "diatribe." It's a soberly written, highly detailed (damned details!) well-reported (damned reporting!) account of a troubled individual.

The Deceiver said...

I had basically planned to just leave my vacuous response, yes. Welcome to The DCeiver!

In all seriousness, it's more incumbent on Waas to make a response, don't you think? No one's provided me with access to the tapes or to Mr. Lenehan's mind. As I said, SOMEONE is not telling the truth. Poo-poo on whoever it is. I only wish I had the means to refute OR confirm the story.

For my part, though, we're in trouble if the CITY PAPER is going to assume a position where they criticize the reporting of others. Even if they are 1000% right, and I'll allow for that possibility. If you read the CP long enough, you'd note that they have a long history of dubious reporting. Not long after I returned to DC, I found that it was fun to play the game "Who Got Misquoted" after every cover story. My own father-in-law was misquoted.

My experiences reached a sort of apotheosis with Cherkis' hit piece on his former roommates--a piece that hasn't seemed to make it over into their new archives. If that piece isn't egregious forum abuse, then forum abuse simply doesn't exist. It would have been better suited to a personal blog--I guess they hadn't been invented yet. (I've been attacked in online fora by Cherkis as well, but that's largely become hilarious to me instead of offensive. He's allowed to do so, anyway. I bring it up only because it more than entitles me to have an opinion on him.)

So, does this basically boil down to me snarking the CP? Yep: sure does! In that way, I am very boringly like virtually the rest of Washington. The CP could be 100% right, but--and this is just from me to you--they haven't earned one thin scintilla of trust from me. I'd believe this story if it came from a source deemed by me to be credible.

Admittedly, none of that has any bearing on the article's empirical credibility. Obviously, you like the article and accept it as credible. Were you me, you'd take it with a tin of salt.

tom said...

What DCeiver said. Nobody gives a shit about two DC journalists fighting one another. Waas's lack of journalistic ethics, if true, is a legitimate story -- but it's hard to see how it has anything to do with DC or the City Paper's mission. Yet you guys ran it anyway, because you're content to publish whatever masturbatory bullshit your senior staff coughs up, counting on the city's appetite for event listings, syndicated features and absorbent material when beer is spilled.

The Deceiver said...

Yes, Tom. One wonders, in fact, as to whether and why these revelations didn't end up in a (more) reputable news organ. Especially since it's not likely to impact the CP's readership by much.