As http://jimromenesko.com explains, the story - Dry asparagus prompts questions about racial discrimination in University City - "and criticism of it went viral."
Stephen Deere's July 17 article begins like this:
A dried-out batch of asparagus has touched off a debate about racial discrimination, grocery stores and the role of citizen-led commissions.
It started in May when resident David Olander was perusing the produce section of the University City Schnucks. He noticed the asparagus weren’t resting in a tray of water.
“It was just sitting there dried out,” said Olander, a member of the city’s human relations commission.
Olander summoned an assistant manager, and then he asked the question: Did the quality of the asparagus have any relationship to the store’s location in a black neighborhood?
“‘I certainly hope not,’” Olander recalled the manager saying.
Olander’s experience prompted him to write a letter to Schnucks CEO Scott Schnuck, and out of that came a meeting with Schnucks employees.
But the letter and meeting were tinged with allegations that the St. Louis area’s largest grocery chain was discriminating against minority communities — accusations that Schnucks vehemently denies.
“Schnucks does not discriminate on any level,” said spokeswoman Lori Willis.
After the story blew up, editor Gilbert Bailon explained:
The approximately 20-inch Post-Dispatch story was not a definitive investigative piece, which would have warranted weeks of field work, or one that sought to present conclusions. It was a balanced news story with a short shelf life. Like asparagus.
It was no story for the ages, but neither was it displayed that way. A one-column headline on a hot July day usually doesn’t incite the incendiary reaction among the hundreds of Post-Dispatch stories written last week. Yet some saw hidden motives buried in the seams.