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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Misdemeanor publicity

This morning's New York Times Business section had an eleven paragraph article headlined, "Mel Gibson In Plea Deal For Battering." It outlined all the gory details of Mel Gibson's problems with his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, and talked about his plea deal which would allow him to avoid any jail time and deny liability in any civil litigation.

The article looked familiar.

That was because Thursday's Times business section had already run a ten paragraph article about how Gibson was about to take that plea. That article gave basically all the same information, reciting all of his recent troubles including his drunk driving arrest from several years ago.

Was this article appropriate for the business section? Might it not have been put in the Arts section, or perhaps the local section of the West Coast edition of the Times? Has a single misdemeanor charge ever gotten more publicity?

When you think of all the felonies which go unreported by the newspaper of record, then you think of these two separate articles about a single misdemeanor, it makes you wonder about the criteria for news the Times considers fit to print.

If it were not so abundantly clear that the New York Times is far above the kind of primitive loyalties and biases they are so quick to condemn others for, one would almost think they were taking a certain joy in Mr. Gibson's troubles.

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