Monday, July 10, 2006

Bridgeport Becomes Urinetown: Local Paper Gets Mayor To Pee In Cup

Who Was Grandstanding More, Mayor Fabrizi Or The Connecticut Post?
To say that Bridgeport, CT, is a city with a lot of problems is like proclaiming there are a lot of holes in Swiss cheese.
It's painfully obvious that the city, halfway between Stamford and New Haven saw its better days vanish long ago along with a lot of its viable tax base.
After all, this was a city that installed speed bumps in some of its neighborhoods, so drug dealers would have a harder time jumping on I-95 if they were chased by cops.
The same ignominy applies to City Hall, where Mayor John Fabrizi was once quite the cokehead. He came clean last month in a tearful appearance before the editorial board of the Connecticut Post, and said he had not partaken in the nose candy since 2004, and offered to take a drug test "anytime anywhere."
OK, the Post said last week, how about Thursday? To which Fabrizi replied, how about right now?
And off he went with the Post's managing editor to a lab. The next day, results showed Fabrizi's piss was clean even if his reputation was not.
So, the Post confirmed the mayor can legitimately say "Just say no." But at what cost? The Post effectively acted as judge and jury. Fabrizi may have put out the offer, but the newspaper didn't have to be the one to act on it.
Fabrizi no doubt knew what the results would be and effectively manipulated the Post into turning a contentious political issue into a media sideshow.
Then again, the Post was a willing accomplice. The unquenchable thirst to find more dirt muddied the judgment of its news chieftains, who instead got caught up in their self-aggrandizement to forget a Journalism 101 maxim -- you report the story, you don't become the story.

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