It's nothing new for our country's Paper of Record to stick a crucial story in its back pages (often while providing front-page real estate to a particularly banal article).
But one of the most egregious examples of such editorial decisions is today's move by The New York Times to bury news of presidential candidate Senator Christopher Dodd's victorious filibuster threat against the proposed telecom immunity bill.
So what page did The Times slip in this account of Dodd's courageous and historic stand? What page did it cover this patriotic push-back to a bill that, if passed, would effectively reward telecom companies for complicity in the Bush administration's illegal wiretapping of millions of innocent American citizens and set a frightening precedent of similar retroactive immunity in such cases where various parties (CIA,
Blackwater mercenaries, etc.) took part in torture, extraordinary renditions or other criminal activities
in George Bush's "war on terror"? What page did the paper that sat on the illegal wiretapping story for a year - before "scooping" it - deem this fit to print?
A29. Yes, A29.
(The online version has no page numbers, but this news is buried there as well; no mention of it even makes the home page - where over 90 stories currently reside.)
Now ask yourself how? Who at The Times authorized this inane editorial decision? And what excuse can possibly explain it away?
Senator Dodd's threat to filibuster yesterday and his triumph in having the patently unconstitutional bill withdrawn from a vote last night is precisely the kind of story that should be big news in a democracy, especially one such as ours, which has been gasping under the boot of an overtly criminal White House for seven long years.
What's the sound of one U.S. senator taking a successful stand against a rogue White House administration and its spineless collaborators in Congress?
If you're The Times, it's something akin to a whisper.
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UPDATE: Commenter EastFallowfield left this earlier today:
A29 in the Times doesn't mean it's buried. It's not front page, but the first x amount of pages after page 1 are International News.
The National news starts in the middle somewhere, and this time of year there are a ton of fullpage or other large ads filling up many pages of the A section. It was right in the middle of all the pages on politics and such.
The Times is no "Thinkprogress" or Kos, but if it's not on the front page then it was pretty much where it was supposed to be in their world.
I responded to it in the comments section and thought the points made helped to further clarify the irresponsibility of The Times' editorial decision, so I'm reposting my response here, too:
EastFallowField, thanks for your comment. But I think you're giving The Times far too much credit here. First, there's no valid reason why this story didn't make the front page. That said, here's a deeper examination of its specific placement:
When the Times thinks a story is important but is short on space, it sometimes puts a photo of the story on the cover that calls out the page number inside (as it did for the large Darfur peace rally in Central Park a year and a half ago).
Or the Times will highlight a story on the front page's "Inside" section. What were some of the stories on the "Inside" section that beat out the Dodd news yesterday? #2: "NBC Late Shows to Resume"; #4: "Why the Long Face?" (about a new book that helps you diagnose what's ailing your pet dog, cat, ferret, etc.); #7: "A Winning Influence" (a successful all-Indian high school basketball team in Oklahoma).
In addition to the "Inside" section (located on the cover), there is also the "News Summary" area located on the following page (A2). This section also serves to highlight important articles inside the paper, from International, National, New York/Region, Business, Science, Health & Fitness, and Editorial. This section calls out five National stories. The Dodd news wasn't there either. What's one of the stories that was? #3: "Churches Battle Witchcraft." I wish I were making that up. Unfortunately, this was yet another story The Times deemed more critical than Dodd's victory.
Finally, the first page of the National section on that day was A24; the Dodd news, as mentioned, was located on A29. That's six pages into the National news section. While it should've been on the cover, that it didn't make the first page of the National section and didn't appear until six pages deep into it, only further underscores the absurdity of The Times' editorial decision and confirms the story was indeed buried.
Moreover, please note two of the three National stories trumping Dodd's victory on the first page of the section - the aforementioned witchcraft article: "A Midnight Service Helps African Immigrants Combat Demons" and this more pressing national news item: "San Francisco's Mayor Proposes Fee on Sales of Sugary Soft Drinks."