Charles Davenport Jr's
(unposted) N&R column on the TRC is as bad as Davenport Jr gets, which is saying something.
Running it on the front page of the opinion section as part of an ostensibly serious package on this subject is an insult to readers. It comes across as a reflection of the cable news idea of balance ("...but some scientists argue that world is flat").
Davenport Jr does not seem to have read anything but the report summary, and he spends most of his time trashing the recommendations. Near the end he dismisses it all as history, as if his own quote-crutched columns don't routinely dwell on the past.
Davenport Jr ledes with the fact that the report was released "at Bennett College, a location chosen for reasons too obvious to state." Nudge, nudge, you know don't you that Bennett is a traditionally BLACK college? Say no more. In fact, don't even bother to say it out loud. It's obvious.
He moves on to the "communists" holding a "quasi-religious" ceremony, even though "communists are godless." I'm not aware of any communists among the commissioners, and certainly co-chair Mark Sills, a Methodist minister, will be surprised to learn of his godlessness. I didn't see Davenport Jr at the ceremony, which was solemn but not quasi-religious. (I didn't see him at any of the public hearings, either.)
Then comes the ritualistic trashing of the recommendations, some of which criticisms actually make some sense, in content if not in hostile and dismissive tone.
I'm often asked if Davenport Jr is used by the N&R to make conservatives look bad. I doubt that, but I do think the paper has an obligation to treat serious subjects seriously, and this column makes little attempt at that. The writer seems to have done no real work on the piece, and expresses a point of view that was set before the first public hearing was held. Embarassing.