Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wayne Barrett Leaves Village Voice: One Less Voice For Democracy

I've read Wayne Barrett since I was a tyke because I knew his facts were accurate and he was incorruptible. He covered the infighting and politics of New York City with a doggedness that would exhaust a younger man. I remember his work on former Mayor Giuiliani, exposing the strange bedfellows and alliances that can seduce even the most upstanding citizen.

It's a very sad day when someone like Barrett must leave a major institution like the Village Voice. It's one less watchdog who can make solid connections between the dirty nexus of politics and money. For our democracy and institutions which support the same, we need more men and women like Mr. Barrett.

He was also a great guest on NY1 who couldn't be shouted down by the most vociferous ranter.

We must never forget that there's more going on behind the scenes that must be exposed to the light of day. Great journalism is the oxygen that sustains a democracy. Without it, only a few voices can be heard.

For an entertaining example from a post I wrote in 2007 of how dirty tricks can influence politics and perhaps the course of history if they're not exposed to the light of day, here's a post from 2007 about a major Republican operative, Roger Stone, practicing family values with his wife, who managed to influence the Florida recount in 2000 AND disturb then-attorney General Eliot Spitzer's aged father. Imagine how much less we'll know about the goings-on in the corridors of power without people like Wayne Barrett.

I believe he will be working for Newsweek and for Tina Brown's latest venture. We haven't heard the last of him. Citizens United! Er, I mean citizens unite!

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