Ripped From Which Headline, "Fed"

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 14 2009 10:56 AM

Ripped From Which Headline, "Fed"

We all know that Law & Order rips its stories from the headlines—but which headlines? Every week—at least every week when there's a new episode and June's DVR doesn't fail—Brow Beat matches L&O 's plot points to the events that inspired them.

Dec. 11, 2009: "Fed"

June Thomas June Thomas

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

Advertisement

These Are Their Stories
Nicholas Landy's body is found with the word "FED" scrawled on his chest. The police immediately suspect that he was targeted by an anti-government activist.

This Is the Real Story
According to the Los Angeles Times , "The body of William E. 'Bill' Sparkman Jr., 51, was found in the backwoods of Clay County [Kentucky] on Sept. 12, with his hands, feet and mouth bound with duct tape, a rope around his neck and the word 'Fed' written on his chest." Authorities initially considered that Sparkman, a Census Bureau worker, might have been targeted because he worked for the government. Investigators eventually concluded that he had committed suicide and attempted to disguise it so his insurance policies would pay out.

These Are Their Stories
The cops discover that although Landy worked as a door-to-door canvasser for the Rights Alliance Foundation, a nonprofit group of community organizers, he was a conservative activist who was secretly recording his work. The police find hidden-camera footage of Landy manipulating RAF workers into talking about how they might extort a restaurant chain.

This Is the Real Story
On Sept. 10, 2009, Fox News reported that "[o]fficials with the controversial community organizing group ACORN were secretly videotaped offering to assist two individuals posing as a pimp and a prostitute, encouraging them to lie to the Internal Revenue Service and providing guidance on how to claim underage girls from South America as dependents." Filmmaker James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, who, according to the Washington Post is "the eldest daughter of a conservative Christian minister in Miami," made the videos—described by the Pos t as "a major strike for conservative Republicans who for years have accused ACORN of voter-registration fraud during presidential elections"—to discredit the organization.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
  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.