Columnist: Leonard Pitts

Feb. 23, 2015 @ 10:25 AM

Jon Stewart, a Cronkite for the new millennium

I am not insane. For this, I have Jon Stewart to thank.


Feb. 20, 2015 @ 11:48 AM

Believers of Ernst hoax say a lot about who we are

"Unbelievably sad."

That was the subject line of an email a colleague sent me last week. In it, she forwarded a link to a story that had Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst telling a Des Moines radio host that Congress should outlaw vaccines because they "manipulate brains."


Feb. 16, 2015 @ 12:22 PM

Judge Roy Moore stands on the wrong side of history ... again

In June, it will be 52 years since George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door.


Feb. 13, 2015 @ 02:50 PM

Brian Williams' lies are not equal to those of Fox 'News'

There's this speech I give my students. Distilled, it goes like this.

"Your primary asset as a journalist is not your dogged curiosity, your talent for research or your ability to make prose sing on deadline. No, your one indispensable asset is your credibility. If you are not believable, nothing else matters."


Feb. 09, 2015 @ 01:16 PM

The Secret Knowledge, just ignorance by another name

I call it the Secret Knowledge.

Meaning that body of information not everyone has, that body known only to those few people who had the good sense to go off the beaten path and seek it. It is information you'll never see in your "newspapers" or "network news" or any other place overly concerned with verifiable "facts" and reliable "sources."


Feb. 06, 2015 @ 10:47 PM

Mental illness and disability are not a fad

He had his first major breakdown when he was 26.

A man who had been known for his sunny, outgoing temperament became suddenly sullen, silent and withdrawn. He spoke openly of suicide. It got so bad that a couple took him into their home to ensure he did not hurt himself.


Feb. 02, 2015 @ 10:44 AM

Marissa Alexander's out of jail, but not yet free

Marissa Alexander got out of jail last week, but she is not free. At best, she enjoys only a species of freedom, a defective freedom that imperfectly resembles the real thing.


Jan. 30, 2015 @ 01:44 PM

We could have predicted ‘Cake Wars II’

We should have seen this one coming.

This is America, after all, a country having no shortage of people with, apparently, too much time on their hands. So someone should have predicted Cake Wars II.


Jan. 26, 2015 @ 01:01 PM

Why serious people discount Fox News

Tucker Carlson said on Fox that more children die of bathtub drownings than of accidental shootings. They don't.


Jan. 20, 2015 @ 12:35 PM

Pontiff wrong on limiting freedom of expression

or what it's worth, there are a few that are acceptable. You don't threaten or incite violence. You don't defame. You don't produce child pornography. And you don't falsely shout "Fire!" in the proverbial crowded theater.


Jan. 12, 2015 @ 08:48 AM

Terrorists usher in the 'End of Satire'

Dear Terrorists:

OK, you win. We surrender.


Jan. 09, 2015 @ 06:08 PM

For NYPD, no defense for the indefensible

This should not even need saying, but obviously, it does. So, for the record:

To oppose police brutality is not to oppose police. 


Dec. 12, 2014 @ 11:12 AM

Rainbow coalition of protests follows grand jury decisions

They have not stopped.

That's one of the most heartening things about the demonstrations against police brutality that began with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August and renewed with a grand jury's decision last week not to indict a New York police officer who choked Eric Garner to death.


Dec. 08, 2014 @ 01:45 PM

So what does "cruel and unusual" mean?

I once asked that of a law professor. The Eighth Amendment prohibits "cruel and unusual" punishment, but I figured there had to be some technical definition I, as a layperson, was missing. I mean, from where I sit, it's pretty "cruel and unusual" to execute someone, but to judge from the 1,392 executions of the past 38 years, that isn't the case.


Dec. 05, 2014 @ 12:58 PM

Understanding white privilege

What follows is for the benefit of one William James O'Reilly Jr. -- "Bill" to his fans.