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How the New York Times Gets Crime Wrong



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Heather Mac Donald tears a strip off the New York Times for its reliably awful coverage and commentary on crime. A bit:

Policing is nearly as taboo a solution to crime as marriage. The Times editorial makes a desultory reference to “more financing for local police,” but argues—against all evidence—that “programs aimed at providing jobs and social services are far more important.” Even that wan half-endorsement must have cost the Times considerable anguish. The paper’s real attitude toward the police was hilariously on display in an article on the New York Police Department published less than a week after its editorial. Titled POLICE POLISH IMAGE, BUT CONCERNS PERSIST: IN POST 9/11 NEW YORK, PROTEST IS MUTED AS CRIME RATE STAYS LOW, the article drew on the second of the two story lines that make up the entire repertoire of the Times’s thinking about the police. This second story line—“Why isn’t there more protest against racist police tactics?”—gets trotted out when circumstances militate against the preferred narrative: “Hooray! Protest mounts over racist police tactics!”

Unlike the Times, Mac Donald has the courage to state the obvious:

In the Times’s view, prison is something that just happens to black males in our society. “Once these young men become entangled in the criminal justice system,” the Times writes, “they are typically marginalized and shut out of the job market for life.” Never mind that you actually have to commit a crime before the criminal justice system “entangles” you.

Read the whole thing — it’s evenhanded and enlightening.



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