02 February 2011

Capital Community News advocates killing DC Councilmember

I've previously bemoaned the state of editing in the Capital Community News family of local papers. As I said before, they are a valuable resource for news that gets overlooked by the Washington Post or local television stations, but the writing often leaves something to be desired.

There is an opinion column in their papers called "The Nose," which is anonymously authored. It's generally humorous, but the January column was mean-spirited and crossed a line regarding Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells. The author displayed serious windshield perspective in criticizing Wells' advocacy for modes of transportation besides the automobile. Wells is accused of "hat[ing] The Nose's car" and is told to "stop Twittering and start ignoring the voices of Greater Greater Washington." Lyrics to a poorly-done parody of the Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun" follow the complaining.

The kicker, though, is the ending. The author says:
By the way, word on the Internet is that a Councilman on a bike is worth at least 10 points. That's even better than an old man or a stroller mommy. Just saying.
I don't know about you, but that sounds like an invitation to commit bodily harm to a member of our city's legislative body. Tony Kornheiser made a similar attempt at humor a year ago when discussing the bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue, and it led to anger and disgust. Kornheiser apologized, and even had Lance Armstrong on his show to discuss why this wasn't really funny.

You can disagree with the inclusion of bike lanes on certain streets in the city. You can debate whether there is a "war on drivers" in the city. But saying the equivalent of, "Hey, it'd be really cool if someone were to purposely hit a man on a bike with their car" is sophomoric, offensive, and if you ask me, worth a visit from the police to determine if there is actual intent to target a public official. Unfortunately, the author of this diatribe is known only to the editors of the Capital Community News family of papers. I'd encourage you to express disappointment directly to the author by emailing TheNose@HillRag.com or to the editor at editorial@hillrag.com.


  1. The following things are considered a "war on drivers":

    Charging market rate for parking in crowded areas.

    Not requiring buildings to build enough parking so that the market price is free.

    Allowing other modes or users to use the roads.

  2. Wow, that was one of the dumbest articles I've ever read (The Nose's, I mean). So dumb that I doubt there's any reason to even email him.

    That said, the level of dumb in the article tells me that the "Councilman on a bike is worth 10 points" jab was just trying to be humorous. I really don't think this one is worth getting worked up over.

  3. Clearly none of you caught the reference to Grand Theft Auto, a video game.

  4. I think you're reading too much into it. It's supposed to be funny. Noone at the Cap Comm News is advocating violence. Really? And I'm one of their writers too. So watch it.

  5. Anonymous at 11:17 am: "So watch it"? Is that supposed to be some kind of threat? Please, if you have something constructive to say, share.

  6. I am, why don't you offer your copyediting services for free? You're doing it anyway by marking up copy on your blog. What will it take if you offer Cap News some services instead of criticizing. It's a tough gig to be an editor and publisher of a publication, especially in this economy. I don't even know how they do it.

    And you know it's not just them. DC is known for its many small and community-based pubs, where both the writing and editing leave much to be desired. This almost sounds as if you're ticked because you applied for a copy editing job and didn't get it. Hmm. Am I warm?

  7. Anonymous: You're leaving comments on two posts at once, saying the same thing, so this is somewhat redundant, but no, I've never applied for any kind of job with them. They're a commercial enterprise - if they want a copy editor, they should pay for it. The community-based publications you mention are often citizens association newsletters, which are not-for-profit. Capital Community News sells a lot of ads.

  8. Yes, I saw you responded to the last post. My bad. Well, your blog has been brought to the attention of Cap Comm News so maybe they'll take a closer look.

  9. Anonymous: Thanks. Would love to see the attention to detail there. The Current Newspapers (another community paper - and a weekly one to boot) does a fantastic job with copy. I know it's doable.


You can be curmudgeonly too, but let's try to be civil and constructive here, ok?