Thursday, March 22, 2012

In this no-limits era, a welcome limit

Tara Servatius has long seemed to revel in low-level discourse, so we suspect it wasn't conscience that prompted her to resign from the conservative John Locke Foundation this week after posting a truly detestable photo of President Barack Obama in chains and high heels with a bucket of fried chicken.

John Hood, president of the foundation, provided some easy lines to read between regarding how Servatius became an ex-Locke blogger. "Earlier this week," Hood said on his Facebook page, "a freelancer who blogs at the John Locke Foundation's Charlotte site posted a piece about President Obama's opposition to North Carolina's marriage amendment. It included an illustration that was offensive and utterly inappropriate for our blog or anyone else's. A reader brought it to my attention yesterday, and I had it removed immediately, but the damage was done."

So Servatius likely got a nudge out the blogging door - or saw it coming. That's not only an appropriate thing, but a heartening thing. If you saw the photo, which went locally viral this week, you probably shook your head at the depths to which our discourse has fallen. It's not hard to find ugliness out there, if that's what you're looking for, but it's jarring to find it in places where you expect a reasonable exchange of ideas.

[Update, 3:48 p.m.: In a statement to the Observer moments ago, Servatius apologized for the controversy but insisted she meant no offense by the photo.
I also wanted to add that, at the time, I was searching for a picture of the president in drag to illustrate his Southern political strategy of courting young voters, a majority of whom support gay marriage. It was one of the first photos to come up on Google Images. Regrettably, I didn't think about the racial implications of the picture when I posted it. I simply don't think in those terms. Unfortunately some people do.

To me, fried chicken is simply a Southern cuisine. So the picture seemed perfect to illustrate Obama's Southern strategy.]
But what happened, eventually, was what should have happened. An offensive post went up on a blog. People complained. Someone in charge realized that a threshold had been crossed.

Do we wish that a staffer at the Locke Foundation had preemptively stopped the photo from ever disgracing the site? Sure. But in this understaffed, shoot-first-and-edit-later digital media universe, perhaps the best we can expect is the sort of self-policing that our community provided here.

As for Servatius, once one of Charlotte's most dogged reporters: The former WBT talk radio host/Meck Deck blogger is running out of platforms to belch from. The beauty of the First Amendment is that she can rev up a new blog anytime she wants, maybe even for an employer willing to laugh at her next Obama joke. The rest of us can applaud the John Locke Foundation - whether we agree with its politics or not - for affirming that even in this open, raucous exchange of voices we treasure, there are still places we don't want to go.

Peter St. Onge

Read ore here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/03/22/3117551/tara-servatius-resigns.html#storylink=cpy

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

What you say is true. Now in the interest of civil debate, go where no other Observer reporter or editorial so far has dared to go: Look into the fairness and accuracy of the property reva in Mecklenburg county. Help enable us to have a civil debate over how much citizens wish to be taxed and the level of taxation at which many more of what the Observer termed "affluent" will flee the borders of our once-fair land.
Despite the Observer's liberal editorial views, you owe all the citizens the facts that only a newspaper can provide--should you should elect to do so. There are a lot of ugly feelings in this area. Ignoring the obvious does nothing to heal the many kinds of wounds.

Bill Foster said...

The fall of Tara Servatius was a sad thing to watch. She showed great promise as an investigative reporter back in the 90's, but her hiring at WBT seemed to cause her to abandon any sense of journalistic integrity, not to mention common decency, perhaps as a way of fitting into the nasty and polarizing right-wing worldview that station's regular listeners adhere to.

However, there's undoubtedly some ultra conservative media outlet out there somewhere that will view her disgraceful recent actions as a plus, and give her another platform. Maybe Rush Limbaugh needs a female associate to take some of the heat off him and HIS recent gaffs, or Ann Colter might need someone to ghost-write her next literary masterpiece.

Hate sells, Tara. Don't give up your dreams!

Cedar Posts said...

I like Tara, frankly Vince Cokley is like watching paint dry.

I thought the blog post was a little odd and tasteless in the extreme . There are plenty of tasteless Obama cartoons out there not to mention a few bumper stickers.

Tara can post to the Cedar Posts blog anytime, her perspective I may not always agree with but her voice should not be silenced.

Anonymous said...

Why is it always that conservatives are held to a higher standard than liberals?

Look at what Bill Maher said about Sarah Palin -- calling her a c**t. Yet he still retains his job. A movie on Bush depicting his assassination yet no outrage. A cross immersed in urine, yet somehow that becomes 'art'.

It sounds like Tara regrets her image selection but not for one second considered it racist. Unfortunately liberals give no one a free pass if it steps on what they consider to be 'right'. But just as soon as a non-liberal calls out the hypocrisy, liberals claim that it's simply freedom of speech....unbelievable the level of hypocrisy.

McD's is hiring Tara said...

Tara is a COMPLETE LIAR.

She is garbage. She knew what she was doing, and if she didn't she is not fit to take care of her own children.

Michael said...

You stay classy, Observer.

Not.

Wiley Coyote said...

Perfect example of the liberal media not being so liberal.

Hypocristy at its best.

The NY Times potpones a story attacking Muslims to Christianity instead so where's the outcry Observer?

Where's the outrage over Bill Maher and Robert De Niro?

Liberals talk of diversity but rarely practice it. Tara may be at one end of the spectrum but doesn't "diversity" incude even those you totally disagree with - on either end?

Not in the liberal world.

St. Pete lives in a bubble along with Fannie.

Anonymous said...

Undoubtedly one of the most self-serving "O-pinions" I've read in the Observer lately.

Lambasting Tara Servatius while continuing to print the thinly-veiled racist comments by Fannie Flono on a regular basis.

And let's don't even talk about the Observer's almost constant liberal slant on just about everything under the sun.

You guys would be funny if you weren't so pitiful.

Anonymous said...

I love the comments blaming the "liberal media" or the Observer for Tara's downfall. Someone should tell Art Pope that apparently his right-wing think tank is now a liberal mouthpiece.

Can conservatives EVER take responsibility for something? Tara blames the public and her employer for making the obvious connections, while her supporters want to blame "liberals." If some of the posters would pause for one moment, they might realize that the Observer is actually praising the John Locke Foundation for attempting to inject some civility back into the public discourse. Such critical thinking, however, must be a "liberal" curse.

Anonymous said...

And every liberal outlet trying to blame the Tucson shooting who hated GW and was a fan of the Communist Manisfesto on Plain and or the Tea party reaches what level of excrement? Not to mention, Bill Maher giving the kenyan klown 1 million dollars that Mr cvility himself has not returned.

Spare us libs, you have the market cornered for vile.

Garth Vader said...

Peter,

I sense a modicum of professional jealousy and a little too much schadenfreude in the multiple slurs directed at Servatius ("low level discourse", "belch"). I've followed Tara for years and I do agree somewhat with Bill Foster's portrayal of her as having started out as a very professional reporter (with "The Leader") with an eye for detail and a dogged determination, but who increasingly became shrill, bitter, and fixated on irrelevant minutiae.

That being said, The Observer has flat-out *stolen* numerous stories from her and from other so-called "alternative" sources including Cedar Posts and Tara's predecessor at MeckDeck, Jeff Taylor, never once acknowledging their existence except to dance on their graves (as you are doing now and as you did when Tara left WBT and Jeff left Charlotte for Atlanta).

I don't recall you or anyone else at the Observer saying that Bill Maher "crossed a line" when he said Bristol Palin "got f—-d so hard a baby fell out". Or looking down your nose at a certain liberal opinion aggregator featuring contributors such as Bill Moyers, Ted Rall and Brett Budowsky called "Smirking Chimp".

Just curious: how many Observer staffers have or had pictures of George W. Bush portrayed as a chimpanzee in their offices or on their company-owned computers? How many of them have resigned? My guess is that the answer to the latter is zero and that the answer to the former is not.

Anonymous said...

To pair Obama and friend chicken is an utter insult to the fried chicken.

Anonymous said...

Tara's talent is investigative journalism. She used to roll up her sleeves and do the work the Observer folk were too lazy to do. Embarrassing for a big city rag to be upstaged by a jouralist from a two bit paper. Perhaps this explains Peter's contempt.

Europeanexpat said...

Someone here said that Tara was a "complete liar."

Yet she was the only person who was able to pull out all the dirt in Meck county. The dirt that local CO (aka "Pravda") with their politburo friends were trying to hide from its slaves, I mean taxpayers. CO copy-pasting the annual stories about CMS budget, covering up for county budget and debt limit mess etc. etc. It was refreshing to read how the mayor got most of his campaign money from the guy who owned real estate along the trolley line, and how his wife got a job at Presby hospital a week after a vote that was advantageous to Presby. Where was CO/Pravda then?

Anonymous said...

Go, Tara. Far left calls Palin a "c**t" and keeps his job, but far right can't have fun. I thought the image matched the blog. What is all this righteousnous over a president who has singled handledly tripled our debt and swings from a socialist chandeler? So now southern humor is bannned? Tara, find another place to blog, your voice should not be silenced.

Paul BLount said...

I could care less what you liberal reporters say. you are all the same. Your opinions matter little and that is why the observer has lost so many readers. Tara may have used poor taste but for you to try or for that matter anyone to silence someone, which is worse? You will not silence all the other refuse that pours out of the mouth of liberals but you all are quick to comment on anyone that has a different opinion than what you spout. I along for the day when the Observer is run out of business due to no one buying your paper.

Anonymous said...

Peter: when y'all get to an objective perspective on just about anything liberal, I MIGHT give you a pass......what a bunch of panty-weight journalists and editorial people at the CO

Adrian DeVore said...

I would sometimes read Tara Servatius when I used to live in Charlotte. I didn't care for her low fact and one-dimensional journalistic style.

Ms. Servatius, in her columns, only wrote about Charlotte, crime, herself, and CMS which mostly lacked originality.Her career in journalism is pretty much over since the low factual reporting that brought success caused her gradual downfall.

john law said...

As Jack Nicholson said, "you can't handle the truth".

Tara, as at WBT, challenged the status quo, which effectively represents the views the silent majority.

Tara, let's run you in your own format, independent of linguine spined managers, reliant on a paycheck.

An introduction to Mr. Simmons would be in order.

Anonymous said...

"I didn't think about the racial implications of the picture when I posted it.
-> sure...

I simply don't think in those terms. Unfortunately some people do."
-> Unfortunately THEY {cough}
do... Enjoy your vacation. its goingto be a long miserable one. toodles!

Anonymous said...

Maybe time for a career change Tara, what's that, 4 "resignations" in 4 years, sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Seemed ok to me

Anonymous said...

Tara went from a local investigative journalist with some promise to divisive voice that seemed to constantly scream for attention. I think she knew what she was doing with this picture.

As far as all the folks screaming about Bill Maher and the hypocrisy. This was a local opinion piece on a local journalist who stepped over the line by defacing our President in a despicable way. That's why it was relevant for the Observer to write on the topic. Tara can say whatever she wants but she risks her employment and the backlash of free speech responses from others. I think she got the attention that she wanted.

Komodman said...

Tara who? Didn't realize she was still around. Apparently, she's following the Rush tactic of self-promotion via scandal.

Best of luck to her.

Anonymous said...

"Can conservatives EVER take responsibility for something?
"

Given this comment was more than likely posted by a liberal, it is probably the most amusing of all comments. A liberal insinuating that conservatives never take responsibility. That's a real knee slapper there, when the backbone of the liberal movement is unaccountability.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember Bush and how he was portrayed throughout media circles?
http://bit.ly/GIUefY

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Hi all,

Interesting and valid questions on why we decided to write about Tara Servatius but not Bill Maher or Robert DeNiro. Anon 6:23 is on the right track - it's local, she's a local personality, and John Hood's response to it speaks to our community's reaction.

A note: I also didn't blog about Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke.

Not saying we ignore national topics here on O-pinion, just that my choices aren't based on ideology. (Don't take my word for it - go back and read my posts.) So for the record: I think what Maher said was reprehensible. Same for Rush.

Thanks, and please keep it clean.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Typical Disturber self-righteousness. Amazing how a fairly obscure blogger such as Tara is brought to task over this, when you have mainstream imbeciles with much larger platforms like Maher, Ed Schultz, Deniro, name-your-favorite-Hollywood-nutcase, spouting off similar garbage, and the "media" utterly ignores it. What is the difference between Pravda under the Communists and the "mainstream media" under Obama? Nothing...except Pravda had a little more class apparently. What's sad is seeing a liberal rag like the Disturber so desperate to hold on to their socialist, sanctimonious, closed-minded views that they, like most "mainstream media", have become utterly irrelevant to most Americans. Watch out Fannie, you may have to get a real job soon.

Ghoul said...

Pete,


I'm stunned! Stunned I tell you, why are you allowing any comments on this piece. I thought the Editorial Board is now just posting their tripe and that is the last word, no comments allowed. How dare you allow anyone to question your words!

Anonymous said...

This is off-topic, but every time I see Peter St. Onge's pic I can't help but think: "So when are the Talking Heads getting back together?" Same as it ever was... Sorry, I had to share. Yes I realize that my comment is an inane non-sequitur, but so is this O-pinion column. Never silence your voice Tara!

Anonymous said...

EGO GONE WILD.

John said...

I can only guess that Peter St. Onge decided to blog about this because Tara is much more well know than he is. I'm sure she will be back, and he will still be unknown. He even leans to the left in his smug little picture. While I think she was wrong to post the picture, she admitted her mistake and apologized, just as Rush Limbaugh did. It seems a little sad that he posts this as a form of celebration against a right wing voice, but I'm not surprised.

Anonymous said...

Tara is one of the best, most informed voices for conservatism - anywhere. Too bad she can't or won't understand where "the line" is. Wish she'd figure it out because we need her to keep speaking out.

Anonymous said...

The thin skinned staff at the CO is something of a wonder.

Anonymous said...

Sigh..... Peter you don't know you don't know.

Anonymous said...

Tara wrote a piece last year about cyclists and bike lanes in the city It was a really poorly written rant that had some suspect info. No direct validation of course but she quoted a study by Johns Hopkins regarding some point she made which now escapes me.
Anyways the point she made through the study I knew was wrong having been a cyclist for many years. I managed to track down the study and sure enough she completely obfuscated and distorted the facts. In fact it completely refuted the premise of her story... garbage! She deserves what she gets

Tired of extremism said...

Peter (& the rest of the Editorial Board),

Why do you even worry about your critics on the board? If they are right of the John Locke Foundation, then you know they are extreme. The knuckle-draggers here are likely like your other prominent commentators on the CO site--old, unemployed/unemployable, sad, angry individuals with very little in their small lives.

Stop worrying about these people. These people want to see your demise and reason will never penetrate their shields of self-righteousness.

I say these things with the knowledge that there are plenty of good, thoughtful people on both sides of the political debate who deserve to be heard; however, these people are not them. They are fringe; they are the Westboro Baptists of the blogosphere. NEVER feel you need to respond to the Westboro Baptists, because it won't make a difference to them.

Anonymous said...

Wow! The "Charlotte Observer"!! You guys are still around!

Garth Vader said...

"I have a better idea. Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize.

If that doesn’t work, what about this: If you see or hear something you don’t like in the media, just go on with your life. Turn the page or flip the dial or pick up your roll of quarters and leave the booth.

The answer to whenever another human being annoys you is not “make them go away forever.” We need to learn to coexist, and it’s actually pretty easy to do. For example, I find Rush Limbaugh obnoxious, but I’ve been able to coexist comfortably with him for 20 years by using this simple method: I never listen to his program. The only time I hear him is when I’m at a stoplight next to a pickup truck.

When the lady at Costco gives you a free sample of its new ham pudding and you don’t like it, you spit it into a napkin and keep shopping. You don’t declare a holy war on ham."

- Bill Maher, The New York Times, March 21, 2012

Anonymous said...

As a person think in their heart the truth about them will come out. Next...

Anonymous said...

1. Remember, no liberal dismissed her, it was the John Locke Foundation that told her to take a hike. That seems to be lost on many of you.
2. The story hit the Huffington Post, which congratulated the John Locke Foundation for their stance. When a conservative think tank gets congratulated by Huff Post, in this stupid environment that is all emotion and no facts, that could be the end of them.

3. If you really believe Tara didn't know that the cartoon was offensive in its stereotypes of both gay people and black people, then either she is the biggest liar or the biggest idiot in Charlotte. Pick one.

edbarb1 said...

“MADISON, Wis. – A radio talk show host who called Condoleezza Rice an “Aunt Jemima” issued an apology Friday, but not to Rice. “It is with a heavy heart that I apologize this morning to Aunt Jemima,” John “Sly” Sylvester said on WTDY-AM in Madison. “She wasn’t a self-serving hack politician who got up in front of Congress and lied. Aunt Jemima didn’t kowtow to Don Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney.

“He said Aunt Jemima was really a “strong, independent black woman” named Nancy Green. “Aunt Jemima never lied about yellow cake uranium, she just makes a damn good pancake.”
- Associated Press

November 24, 2004

This is only ONE instance of racists comments and pictures by Liberals against black conservatives. This particular incident came complete with a picture of Rice as Aunt Jemima. Will we ever see a time when Liberals quit or are fired for racists remarks against conservative blacks?... Nah!

Anonymous said...

Come on folks. Stop bringing up Bill Mahar and what he said about Palin unless you want to talk about John McCain and the fact that he used the "c" when referring to his first wife. Furthermore, Bill Mahar is a comedian just like Chris Rock, George Carlin, et al and you have to pay to hear their rants ... apples and oranges. Tara, Rush and Vince are on the OPEN air ways spewing their mess.

Anonymous said...

She won't be doing anything now. her speech impediment will keep he off the air and with that blog post she's a cancer. Enjoy staying at home raising the babies. after all that is what conservatives only want women to do anyway Tara.

Anonymous said...

Tara Self-Servatius... That's what she is.

Debra Gold said...

Tara Servatius is invited to speak at the League of the South--an organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

She's a fascist AND racist.

Period.

Anonymous said...

Tara did what many others wish they have the nerve to do. She expressed her opinion. Why is that so bad based on all the other crap going around today? I guess being a conservative places her in a position to be criticised. So much for freedom of speech....huh radicals....

Cedar Posts said...

Just for the sake of saying it, the John Locke Foundation didn't take issue with Tara's jab at Obama the post is still there, only the gag photo is gone.

Nor has John Locke deleated any of her past 9 months of posts.

A lot of people don't like the League of the South or the SCV but there are somethings in the South that just are, the NAACP for example.

Of course they are not a hate group, are they?

Anonymous said...

Saying Tara is not racist is sort of like saying President Obama is not black. You can make a case for it but most people would think otherwise.!

Anonymous said...

I always knew that one day, Tara would be seem as someone who could not tell the truth and as a racist , I had no idea that the whole world would find out. And to think that she is raising children, who I hope will not see the world as their momma does.

Anonymous said...

She's a wanna be Ann Coulter only not as smart. I knew she was headed in this direction when she was with the Charlotte Observer. I've never seen President Obama with a bucket of chicken. Fried chicken is not only Southern cuisine, if she wants to call him a high heeled wearing n word have the guts to do so.

Anonymous said...

when she was with "Creative loafing", not Charlotte Observer.

Garth Vader said...

11:56 - it's the SPLC that's a hate group:

Ken Silverstein, writing for Harper's Magazine, addressed this untoward metamorphosis in 2000: "Today's SPLC spends most of its time — and money — on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate. 'He's the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement,' renowned anti-death-penalty lawyer Millard Farmer says of Dees, his former associate, 'though I don't mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye.'

"The American Institute of Philanthropy gives the Center one of the worst ratings of any group it monitors," continued Silverstein. "Morris Dees doesn't need your financial support. The SPLC is already the wealthiest civil rights group in America, though [its fundraising literature] quite naturally omits that fact. ... 'Morris and I...shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money,' recalls Dees's business partner, a lawyer named Millard Fuller. 'We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich.'"

Anonymous said...

I was fortunate enough to personally meet and befriend Tara years ago. She is opinionated, strong willed, and intelligent. She is not a racist though.

Anonymous said...

Great hatchet job on Tara, Peter. Pulitzer material for sure. Guess you didn't like my comment yesterday, did you? The truth can be painful, can't it? Revel in your self-righteousness, Peter, but it's a poor substitute for talent.

BiBr said...

Oh Peter: What a HUGE hypocrite you are. I seem to remember a picture of former President Bush that ran in the Observer with a big bullseye drawn on his forehead. For some reason, I have a sneaking suspicion that if Tara had posted George W. Bush in a dress eating fried chicken, the CO editorial team would have plastered it on the front page of their newspaper and found it nothing but innocent fun. Honestly, It's hard to stomach you or your liberal hypocracy anymore, Pete...

komodoman said...

BiBr @ 9:07pm:

You "seem to remember a picture of former President Bush that ran in the Observer with a big bullseye drawn on his forehead.

Please tell us when that picture ran.
Can you narrow it down to a specific month? How about a year?


Or, are you just making stuff up again?

Anonymous said...

The Observer has seemed to revel in low-level discourse for 8 years of George Bush but now you feign outrage?? Please!

Anonymous said...

@Debra said this: Tara Servatius is invited to speak at the League of the South--an organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Southern Poverty Law Center IS one of the biggest LIBERAL outfits in the country. Pathetic excuse to call someone a racist.

Redlight said...

Tara,

You still have fans out here so keep your head held high!

Redlight said...

Tara,

You still have fans out here so keep your head held high!

Anonymous said...

With a face made for radio, but a voice made for print, Tara has just about run out of options.

However, I tend to agree with a lot of what she says when it is backed with research.

I hope she lands on her feet and has a good time giving the libs out there the arse whuppin they deserve.

But stay away from the stupid cartoons next time.

I saw that Obama one and it wasn't even the best option. There was a better photo showing his face photoshopped on a long-legged model wearing a turban that was a lot better than the cartoonish photo she choose with the KFC bucket.

Tara just needs to learn how to google a little better...

Not A Sock Puppet said...

How many time is Tara Servatius going to apologize for being a racist and a homophobe just to get another job and do exactly the same thing ? How dumb are these people who keep hiring her ? And she actually has a journalism degree from Chapel Hill ? I guess Chapel Hill isn't what it used to be.