How Many Black Men Do You Have to Murder to Make the Front Page of the New York Times?

A blog about politics, sports, media, stuff
Aug. 13 2010 9:13 AM

How Many Black Men Do You Have to Murder to Make the Front Page of the New York Times?

After a serial-murder spree that left at least 5 people dead and 13 more wounded, spanning three states and four months, suspected killer Elias Abuelazam was captured at the Atlanta airport Wednesday night as he tried to flee the country. In the series of vicious attacks, a man picked out strangers who were alone on the street, lured them to his vehicle, and then stabbed them with a knife, bludgeoning one with a hammer for variety.

Want to know more? Pick up a copy of the New York Times. No, not the front page. The front page has a follow-up story on an Alzheimer's research discovery, a follow-up story on the Russian spy scandal, a follow-up story on the "Ground Zero mosque" controversy. Down at the bottom are teasers for the Eat Pray Love review and an online project where readers submitted photos of ugly animals.

Advertisement

Open up the front. Flip past the International section ("Diving the Depths in a Quest for Pearls and a Connection With Kuwait's Past"). OK, the National section starts on A12. "Green Light and Delay On Same-Sex Marriage"... A13: "Hoping a Pledge to Skip a Salary Resonates With Voters"... "Inquiry on Harvard Lab Threatens Ripple Effect"...

Oh, there. Page A14.

"Man Held in Connection With 18 Stabbings, 5 Fatal." Fourteen paragraphs, one reporter, Atlanta dateline. No stringers in Michigan, where the attacks began, or Virginia or Ohio, where they continued. No names of the deceased.

The story does mention that most of Abuelazam's victims were black men. There's a dispute over whether or not they were singled out because of their race—the suspect, Abuelazam, is white and an Israeli immigrant—but the attacks were savage and predatory either way.

Not, however, savage or predatory enough to really interest the New York Times. Probably, in its usual tortured-liberal way, the newspaper will realize this was an oversight. Maybe it will send a reporter or two to Flint, Michigan to reconstruct the murders, write sensitive-seeming profiles of the victims, plant the whole thing with fragrant gray word-flowers and spread it all out for the Sunday readers. Or if the racism angle turns out to be true, maybe we'll get a searing portrait of the evil forces that drove the killer.

Right now, though, what we have is the newspaper's gut reaction. The arrest was announced yesterday morning, so the Times had plenty of opportunity to work the story as hard as the editors thought appropriate: 

Five dead.

A14. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

So, Apple Is Not Shuttering Beats, but the Streaming Service Will Probably Be Folded Into iTunes

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 5:45 PM The University of California Corrects “Injustice” by Making Its Rich Chancellors Even Richer
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.