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5.29.11
This is an Archival Site
There is now a new Rogovoy Report home



5.18.11
Weekend Preview May 19-24
Bob Dylan tributes, Deborah Voigt, Tom Paxton, Bill Kirchen, John Kirk and Trish Miller



5.18.11
Celebrating Bob Dylan's 70th Birthday in Style
Paying tribute to the greatest rock songwriter ever



5.17.11
FILM REVIEW: In a Better World and Of Gods and Men
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.17.11
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5.12.11
Deborah Voigt Headlines Mahaiwe Gala
Opera star to sing arias, show tunes on Saturday, May 21



5.15.11
Famed Spiritual Teacher to Speak on Nonviolence
Mother Maya in free talk at Sruti Yoga in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday May 20 at 7pm



5.12.11
Special Effects Wizard to Be Honored by Film Festival
Doug Trumbull to be Feted by BIFF



5.11.11
Weekend Preview May 12-16
Cultural Highlights of the Berkshire Weekend



6.4.09
Talk about a small world
Elaine and I grew up together, but only just recently met....



5.8.11
Berkshire Living to Cease Publication
A Farewell from Publisher Michael Zivyak



5.8.11
twiGs Branches Out
Lenox boutique launches new e-tail site



5.8.11
[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.8.11
[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.7.11
[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.7.11
[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy





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EAGLE WATCH: Race-baiting in the Berkshire Eagle?

11.07.05
A story about a shooting in downtown Pittsfield, Mass., in yesterday's (11/6/05) Berkshire Eagle contained an odd, seemingly superfluous reference to a suspect's race.

The story, "'Shots fired' yields suspect ," written by Benning W. De LaMater -- one of the Eagle's more colorful writers (he of Ruth Bader Ginsburg fame) -- began in typical reporter's fashion thusly:

"PITTSFIELD Pittsfield Police arrested a 22-year-old man yesterday afternoon in connection with what is believed to be the shooting of an individual in a parking lot during the early morning hours yesterday..."

In the next sentence, however, racial details about the suspect jump out at a reader as unnecessary and perhaps even provocative:

"Sgt. Mike Fitzgerald said Christopher Bennett, a black male whose last known address was 10 Circular Ave., Pittsfield, was arrested in the late afternoon and charged with four counts of assault to murder while armed with a firearm and four counts of using a firearm in a felony."

To my knowledge, it has not been the Eagle's practice to identify criminal suspects by race (other than in the obvious way -- by running their pictures), except perhaps if they are at large and skin color is part of a description of a wanted fugitive (also, as we have seen in the past, a practice inherently slippery and problematic).

Given the precise wording of De LaMater's sentence, it could be he was quoting or paraphrasing the police officer, who told the reporter that the suspect was a black male. Nevertheless, one would think that an editor (if there are any left at the Eagle) would have caught this and deleted the racial reference before sending it off to print.

Interestingly, in today's (11/7/05) Berkshire Eagle, in a follow-up front page story on the crime, Gunman sought in shootings, by a different, more seasoned reporter (Tony Dobrowolski), Bennett's race is not mentioned -- thereby suggesting that indeed the Eagle does NOT favor including racial descriptions in its articles, and that in fact the offending descriptor somehow got by a understaffed, undermanned copy desk. (If his race was important enough to be mentioned in the second sentence yesterday, why doesn't it bear repeating today?)

It would be interesting to hear directly from executive editor Tim Farkas (preferably in the pages of the Eagle, but as a comment to this blogpost would be a nice start) exactly what is the Eagle's policy regarding identifying criminal suspects by race. Was this is a mistake? Or can we look forward to more such colorful writing by De LaMater (who, by the way, I sincerely think is a good writer and who took an unfair beating for his witty Ginsburg reporting)?





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