Friday, December 25, 2009

The New York Times Forgets to Report Most of the Story

Is The New York Times' new motto Some of the news that's fit to print?

Here's the NYT article about a woman who stabbed a man to death in a Queens subway stations yesterday night.

And here's what actually happened.

Big, huge difference between "man stabbed to death by female attacker who flees and is still at large" and "group of men attack, try to kidnap woman; she stabs one of her attackers to death, flees and is still at large", no?

ETA: NYT has a follow-up article (H/T Annapolitan)

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At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Annapolitan said...

The Times article was published on the 24th and the NY Daily News article was published shortly after midnight on the 25th. Maybe the NY Times was only publishing news which it had confirmed? Which at that point was that a man had been stabbed by a woman. Perhaps the Times hadn't yet confirmed the backstory about the circumstances of the stabbing?

The Times did publish a more detailed (and to me, sympathetic) story on the stabbing here, complete with details on the 16-year-old girl who wielded the knife:

At 6:07 PM, Blogger ema said...


I assumed they both had access to the same sources. In any case, thank you for the link, I updated the post.

At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Annapolitan said...

The NY Daily News commits journalistic malpractice in my opinion. Right off the bat, the article refers to the men as "thugs" and makes what I think are misleading and inflammatory comments.

Like: "The harassment, which may have included unwanted sexual advances and grabbing"...

This is the kind of sentence that a reporter puts in a story when he can't get any of the witnesses to confirm his preconceived beliefs about what happened. None of the witnesses CONFIRMED they saw grabbing or heard sexual comments or advances. But the harassment MAY have included those elements. And the article is unclear on whether the witnesses conceded this could have happened -- "Well, I guess they could have been making sexual advances to her, but I couldn't hear what they were saying, y'know? -- or whether this statement is conjecture on the part of the reporter.

And the reader of the NY Daily News article now has the idea that this girl was being surrounded by a bunch of "thugs" who were sexually harassing, threatening and touching her.

Believe me, I'm not defending these men AT ALL. Even without the inflammatory language of the NY Daily News article, it sounds like this girl was terrorized and had every reason to pull that knife to defend herself.

My favorite quote from the later Times article: "He was a person at the wrong place at the wrong time" said the aunt of the stabbing victim.

Really? You think he was stabbed because he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Because that makes it sound like he was just hanging out minding his own business and was a victim of random violence, and it had nothing to do with him being one of a group of six-to-eight men who followed, harassed, and assaulted a teenage girl before attempting to kidnap her.


I'll be following this story now, because I'm interested to find out if this young woman will be charged (I hope not) or if any of the other men will be charged for their part in the assault (I hope so.)


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