Over at the Huffington Post, David Simon just uncorked a whopper of a rebuttal to … well, to everyone who ever criticized him for anything, ever. Because all you journalists who took the time to respond to his TV show as a work of fiction, a work of art? You missed the story! You missed the story about journalists missing the story! And David Simon is calling you out:
I am now, also, the newly crowded King of Meta. That's right. I am your new lord sovereign of buried, latent, subtextual argument. I dragged it past sarcasm, past cynicism, and all the way to balls-out snide. Crown me up and kneel, ya bitches.
The real story of the journalism subplot this season was not the fabulist, or the cutbacks, or the Pulitzer, or poor saintly Gus Haynes. It was the fact that in the midst of all this, the Baltimore Sun didn't report on all the real stories of Baltimore. And everyone missed it, Simon scolds.
But what is [Simon] saying about the cost of lies? Surely the lies that matter to our cities, and to our newspapers, are not the BIG ones, like made-up serial killers. The ones that matter are the small ones, the ones that previous seasons of The Wire exposed so clearly. That's why I thought that some of the most effective scenes in this season involved not the Jayson Blair–esque story line, but instead the moments when we saw news we knew to be earthshaking — the deaths of Prop Joe and Omar — relegated to "Metro" briefs or cut completely from the Sun's coverage.
But those moments, in this season of The Wire, were few and far between. David Simon's yelling loudly at reporters for missing the things that weren't happening on his show is only a half-step above yelling at reporters for missing what the show had to say about the death of the Baltimore Orioles. Simon's point was in there, but it was mostly there by omission, and one of the failures of this season was that it didn't find a way to effectively dramatize this story line in a way that made that point pop. We don't know that blaming your audience for not caring enough about good journalism is the best way to respond to criticism.