So, I have been known to tweak the Daily Iowan on the Little Village Magazine in the past. So far I’ve not gone after the Press Citizen, because whatever the shortcomings of that newspaper, they’re usually not that funny. The Little Village folks have friends both places, and really, is it a good idea to trash other local media outlets? The PC even did a nice article about Little Village on the occasion of our 10th anniversary.
But the Cedar Rapids Gazette — excuse me THE GAZETTE, somehow in the past few years they’ve come unstuck from their erstwhile geography — I don’t know anyone there, and I’ve been carefully tending my dislike for the paper for 41 years. And now they’ve really gone and done it:
EDIT: They’ve changed the headline for the on-line post to the less offensive “How will fire change downtown Iowa City?” The headline above was there unitil sometime this morning.
This is an article that is almost entirely free of concrete facts to support the headline. The reporter, Gregg Hennigan, did due diligence in getting quotes from a few people, but they were all variations on “I don’t know, this just happened, nothing’s been settled.”
What is astounding is the callous disregard of the businesses that have been damaged, the tenants burned out of their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The poor people at AKAR had most of their fall inventory damaged or destroyed.
Hennigan opines “It’s no secret, however, that city and downtown representatives want to see changes downtown, specifically the addition of more retailers, office space and owner-occupied housing.” Yes, and I’m sure those people want to accomplish that by burning down inconvenient old buildings, like 9 South Linn Street, the Van Patten House, which is on the national historic register. The Bruegger’s building was actually the first place in Iowa City I ever lived — on the ground floor, prior to its conversion to a restaurant — so I take this personally.
I don’t presume to judge Hennigan as a person or a journalist, but the tone and focus of that article — and particularly the headline, which Hennigan probably did not write — is so tone-deaf and insensitive that someone at the Gazette should be ashamed.