A couple weeks ago, we noted the eerie similarities between the plotlines on this season of the HBO drama The Wire and the present-day Inquirer. Well, they’re not so much “eerie similarities” as they are “plotlines ripped directly from show creator David Simon‘s own newsroom experience.” Which, it has been noted, consisted among other things of working for a few years besides present-day Inky editor Bill Marimow (pictured) at The Baltimore Sun. And as the show’s final season settles in, Marimow finds himself in the hot seat in journo circles regarding the action this season as well as Simon’s continual picking of old war scabs in interviews.
What’s the fuss? Well, as if last season’s naming of an asshole cop in Marimow’s honor wasn’t enough, this season concerns a cash-strapped newspaper editor gunning for Pulitzers at all costs while under him, a staffer is writing blatantly fake stories — that the editorial brass can’t get enough of. (Simon says that the faker in question was based directly on co-worker at the Sun some years back, but refuses to out this person by name.) In addition, there’s the hate that Simon has been throwing in real life towards Marimow and his old bosses. According to this Mark Bowden-penned story in The Atlantic, Simon told an audience in Baltimore last year…
I just have to do good work for its own sake … I’m basically happy, and it’s like the least ambitious I am in my life. Until … it gets sold out of town. And these guys come in from Philly. The white guys from Philly. And I say that with all the contempt you can muster for the phrase white guys. Soulless motherfuckers. Everything that Malcolm X said in that book before he got converted back to humanity—no, no, he was right in the first place. These guys were so without humanity. And it was the kind of journalism—how do I describe bad journalism? It’s not that it’s lazy, it’s that whenever they hear the word Pulitzer, they become tumescent. They become engorged … All they wanted to do was win prizes … I watched them single-handedly destroy The Sun.
There’s not a lot of debate as to who he’s talking about here — Marimow rolled into Baltimore straight from a previous Inky gig — but for someone who’s clearly traded up in his professional life, Simon’s continuing assault on Marimow comes off as obsessive, even freakish. We’re not the only people to think so. According to a piece published in today’s Washington Post,
“Simon’s portrait of Marimow is not just unfair; it verges on psychotic,” Bill Wyman, who worked with Marimow at National Public Radio, writes in his blog, Hitsville.
For his part, Marimow has been fairly silent on the subject, but you can feel the steely rage contained in the one quote he did give to WaPo today: “I deeply resent Simon’s dishonest efforts to revise history,” Marimow says. Philebrity contacted Marimow over week ago for an interview but has yet to hear back from him.
WashingtonPost: The Old Boss
TheAtlantic: Anger Is An Energy
Previously: Boring New Plotline On The Wire Eerily Similar To Boring Old Plotline At The Inquirer