Duane "Dog" Chapman, Don Imus, and Michael Richards have all made national news recently for making racist comments. Each, having been fully and mercilessly covered by the mainstream media paid a price for his errors. Some caught in the same circumstances, however, get a pass. The latest example is left of center independent newspaper publisher Michael Lacey. Lacey is the owner of Village Voice Media, a conglomerate of "alternative weeklies," including the New Times in Phoenix and the Village Voice in New York, which service a niche readership group in an increasingly growing number of markets throughout the country.
Lacey used the N-word on April 4, 2008 while making a speech at a Phoenix awards banquet which honored a deceased African-American journalist. (The date also happens to be the 40th anniversary of the King assassination). Lacey referred to another deceased journalist as "my n------". The Arizona Republic still has not covered the racial slur. The town's other paper, The Tribune, did cover it because the journalist being honored wrote for them.
Three days later, after the Tribune's coverage, Lacey issued a half-hearted apology, saying he was sorry that his "comments about a dead colleague rankled listeners. My words, meant to honor a friend, were inappropriate. All present have my sincere apology. It is regrettable that any phrase of mine offended those attending a First Amendment awards banquet."
Lacey once fired an editor, in part, because he made a racist statement at a staff meeting at The Village Voice. David Blum was fired after only six months on the job. After the staff meeting, Blum apologized. However, Lacey said "the problem was, his apology made it worse." Blum apparently referred to a minority community as "Joe Jones from Flatbush," when he was accused of favoring a white clientele. From his New Times forum, Lacey has made a career of attacking Sheriff Joe Arpaio and implying that Arpaio is racist against Hispanics for his hard stance on illegal immigration. With Lacey's "my n-----" soundbite, one has to wonder who exactly the racist is. And what happened to the mainstream media's outrage over all things racist?