One of the big divides you often hear about in the "print vs. online" debate is that of simple professionalism: grammar, punctuation, proper spelling, research ... these are the things that a "true writer," regardless of medium, will focus on. Well, the consistently outspoken Oscar winner known as Whoopi Goldberg has now accused The New York Times of blowing it, as far as entertainment journalism is concerned.
The fracas began with this article in yesterday's Times, and it's clear that authors Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott were making points about the black actors who've received Oscar attention since Denzel Washington and Halle Berry won theirs in 2002. The article never asserts that "only seven black actors have ever won an Oscar" (the actual number is 13), but that's how Whoopi interpreted it -- and she was not too happy about it. (Video from 'The View' after the jump.)
So, while Ms. Goldberg has a legitimate gripe (how tough would it have been to mention the six other actors?), this is not a case of poor research or a dumb mistake on the part of Ms. Dargis and Mr. Scott.
But it doesn't end there. Manohla Dargis emailed the New York Observer in an attempt to clarify the point of the article, but instead of smoothing things over and apologizing for a "perceived slight," she just said Whoopi "missed the point," which led to ... another response from Whoopi.
"You shouldn't have to read a story five times to get the meaning," is what the actress had to say, but it seems the point is clear: If you're going to write a story about black actors winning Hollywood gold, you might want to include all 13 names, just out of simple respect. (Both numbers are too low, if you ask me.) Frankly, and with all due respect to The New York Times, A.O. Scott, Manohla Dargis and Whoopi Goldberg, we should all be well past this sort of stuff by now.
And since we're laying blame for mistakes, I believe Barbara Walters deserves a pair of corrections: 1) Whoopi won an Oscar in 1991, not 1981, and 2) she took the "only seven actors" passage completely out of context.
Personally, I think Whoopi has a right to be irritated, but I also believe the 'View' ladies are making this out to be a lot "nastier" than it needs to be. What do you think?