NYT’s ‘Egregious and Absurd’ Editorial Priorities

Brad Jacobson is resurrecting the “NYT Front|Back” feature of his Media Bloodhound blog (7/10/09)–spotlighting the New York Times‘ “penchant for placing a supremely unnewsworthy story on its cover while burying a vital one in its back pages”–only for “the most egregious and absurd examples.”

The current example being their July 7 front-page headliner, “In Sex Film Industry, Some Long for a Real Plot“:

No, this isn’t satire. It’s a cover story on our nation’s paper of record…. The article opens:

The actress known as Savanna Samson once relished preparing for a role. “I couldn’t wait to get my next script,” she said.

There’s no reason to look at them anymore, she said, because her movies now call almost exclusively for action. Specifically, sex.

Jacobson commiserates with the Times editors’ concerns: “Two wars. Jobless rate at nearly 10 percent. Healthcare in crisis. And if that weren’t enough to bear, now there are dwindling plot lines in our pornography!”

Meanwhile, the same day’s placement of an “In Senate, Debate on Detainee Legal Rights” piece way back on page A18 has Jacobson convinced that “apparently the Times thinks Americans are, as the kids say, so over the issue of detainee rights that the dearth of pornography plots trumped this story by 18 pages“:


Obama administration lawyers said Tuesday at a Senate hearing that detainees prosecuted by military commissions should have some of the same constitutional rights as American citizens tried in civilian criminal courts….

“So you are saying that these people who are in Guantanamo, who were part of 9/11 or committed acts of war against the United States are entitled to constitutional rights of the Constitution of the United States?” Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the senior Republican on the panel, asked administration officials at one point.

Looking past “this article’s banishment to the back pages,” Jacobson notes how “the story fails to include a substantive factual rejoinder to Senator McCain’s misleading statement”–the facts being that “scores of detainees have already been released by the U.S.,” but only “after being held for years with no charge and incurring what the Times calls ‘brutal‘ interrogation techniques but the rest of the world calls ‘torture.'”