The decision by Rep. Robert L. Barr Jr. (R-Ga.) to serve as a keynote speaker at a meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) in June only made page A23 of the Washington Post last Friday. The Post-Dispatch had the story in its Saturday tabloid, on page 15, with the nifty and accurate headline "Judiciary Committee Republican defends speaking before bigots." (The Post merely labeled the group as a "white supremacist group.")
Anyone with a browser can call up the group's Web wonderland of racist and secessionist views at www.cofcc.org to check out an organization to which one of the main engines behind the Clinton impeachment drive is proud to speak. (And be sure to follow their new link to France's virulently racist and now politically fractured National Front!) But a taste of just the first article under the "Views" frame of the CCC site by Jennifer Passmore (Phyllis Schlafly and Pat Buchanan also make appearances) should whet your appetite for destruction:
"Start today, fellow white Americans," writes Passmore. "Look at the faces around you: find the faces like yours, and see them as your brothers and sisters. Find the fair-skinned babies, and see them as your children."
SUNDAY, SUNDAY: Part of the deal with spanking the media is praising them, too. This week's "Nice Section" of the media column, then, is devoted to Sunday's edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and, in particular, two impressive stories.
The first story was Monte Reel's excellent piece about Muska Oric, a Bosnian refugee who resettled to St. Louis and found the transition nettlesome -- particularly after a child molester came within striking distance of her family. Reel's account of Oric's return to post-Dayton Agreement Bosnia was a highly literate and emotionally affecting piece that was augmented effectively by Laurie Skrivan's photography. Top-notch work.
Equally first-rate, but much closer to home, was Michael Sorkin's profile of New Life Evangelistic Center leader Larry Rice. Sorkin's portrait of Rice was well reported, thorough and, above all, fair. Wayne Crosslin's photos also went a long way toward making the profile even more top-shelf.
RADIO DAZE: A few program notes from KDHX (88.1 FM) for the coming year. Alt-rock hound and former Night Times columnist Rob Levy is back on the airwaves starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6, with his weekly show, Juxtaposition. Levy says that it will be "including but not limited to indie noise, emerging college radio flavors of the month, rock, trip-hop and occasional industrial and ambient mayhem."
KDHX music director Tony Renner gave me some more news on Monday when he told me that Highway Matrons singer/drummer and local bon vivant Fred Friction will host a new KDHX show starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 7.
I asked the obvious question: "Isn't that a bit early for Friction?" But more of St. Louis' most beloved spoonmeister in any format is good news to these ears.
SLEDGEHAMMER: The scene? The 1998 Post-Dispatch Christmas party. The song? Percy Sledge's 1966 soul classic "When a Man Loves a Woman." The singer? P-D editor Cole Campbell. The crowd reaction? Judging from the calls to the third floor at 6358 Delmar Blvd., a feeling ranging widely from amused to aggrieved. One P-D wag contacted did argue, however, that it was "more toward the amused side." Suggestions for next year's Campbell karaoke setlist? John Fogerty's "Centerfield" or the Style Council's "Long Hot Summer" (for McGwiremania); the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" (for the Post's restructuring scheme).
PICK PACK: This year's "Bob Pastin Memorial Joust" is grinding its 3 yards and a cloud of dust toward the future. The annual contest -- in which I and my brother Tom Byrne (of WILM-AM and WHYY-TV in Wilmington, Del.) pick college bowls against the spread -- will be available on the RFT Web site (www.riverfronttimes.com). More spice (and nepotism) is added this year by the inclusion of the youngest Byrne brother (John Byrne) in the contest. Just click on "Media" at the paper's Web site to find our bowl picks and quips.
You can e-mail media tips and quips to Richard Byrne at firstname.lastname@example.org.