paper trail

Robin D. G. Kelley on defunding the police; Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron’s old-school stance

Robin D. G. Kelley

The podcast Intercepted hosts scholar Robin D. G. Kelley, who talks to Jeremy Schall about Trump’s Tulsa rally and the 1921 race massacre, racial capitalism, defunding the police, and the Third Reconstruction. Kelley observes how the trope of the “outside agitator” has distorted and weakened a genuine movement: “There’s a way in which Trump and his ilk can take the idea or the fear of the outside agitator and flip it to vilify those who are genuinely fighting for social justice and for an end to policing and ignore, completely ignore if not justify the activities of groups who are actually trying disrupt these really important movements for social justice.”

Tomorrow night via Zoom, Kimberlé Crenshaw hosts “Under the Blacklight: COVID, White Power, & the Unseeing of Race Again,” featuring Camara Phyllis Jones, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Barbara Arnwine, Jonathan Metzl, and others.

The National Book Critics Circle has released an update on how they are planning to move forward after an internal disagreement over a draft statement supporting Black Lives Matter went public.

At Nieman Lab, Teresa Carr writes about how female experts are not consulted in media coverage of COVID-19: “Once you notice the dominance of the (typically White) male expert, it’s hard to un-see it. Writing for prominent outlets, journalists have hailed men as scientific heroes of the coronavirus era and defenders of fact.”

Phoebe Chen considers a new series of classic films running on the Criterion Channel, “Tell Me: Women Filmmakers, Women’s Stories.” Of the collection, focusing on works covering four decades, Chen writes, “The voluble speakers in these frames elicit a sense of the audience as a kind of privileged witness: we are lucky enough to see and hear these women’s stories, but, in our witnessing, we also corroborate the value of their telling.”

Ben Smith profiles Marty Baron, the Washington Post’s executive editor since 2013, portraying Baron as an old-school stickler, a stance that has been tricky to uphold in the era of social media, Trump, and an emerging consensus that the idea of “objectivity” in journalism has been used to discount and silence writers from marginalized groups. Smith reveals a striking example of Baron’s principles in action: The editor halted a story in which Bob Woodword named Brett Kavanaugh as one of his confidential sources. Kavanaugh had publicly denied an account of the Kenneth Starr investigation that he himself had secretly provided Woodward with. The writer felt that the country should know about Kavanaugh’s mendacity at a moment when the judge was professing his own honesty during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Baron disagreed.