NYT Front|Back, a MediaBloodhound feature that showcases The New York Times' intermittent yet longstanding penchant for placing a supremely unnewsworthy story on its cover while burying a vital one in its back pages, rarely makes an appearance on this site anymore. It's brought back from mothballed hiatuses only for the most egregious and absurd examples.
Like this one:
No, this isn't satire. It's a cover story on our nation's paper of record. The critical issue at hand (pardon the expression)? The article opens:
There’s no reason to look at them anymore, she said, because her movies now call almost exclusively for action. Specifically, sex.
Two wars. Jobless rate at nearly ten percent. Healthcare in crisis. And if that weren't enough to bear, now there are dwindling plot lines in our pornography! I believe it was Patrick Henry who originally said, "Give me liberty and intricately plotted pornographic entertainment, or give me death." Of course, that was before the edit (fortunately for Henry, he wasn't living in the dawn of blogging).
Some more excerpts from this earth-shattering piece of journalism:
“The feature is not as big a part of the industry today,” [Wicked Pictures president Steve] Orenstein said. But he says he still plans two to three bigger-budget releases each year, including the recently shot “2040,” which is about the pornography business of the future. Mr. Orenstein described the movie as “an almost Romeo-and-Juliet story between an aging porn star and a cyborg.”
In lieu of plot, there are themes. Among the new releases from New Sensations, a studio that makes 24 movies a month, is “Girls ’n Glasses,” made up of scenes of women having sex while wearing glasses.
Ms. Samson, for example, said she took her acting seriously and used to prepare studiously for her roles, like the character she played in the 2006 movie “Flasher.”
She said she played a psychotic who, because of the way her mother treated her, “had an obsession with flashing and doing things in public.”
“I used to have dialogue,” said Ms. Samson, whose given name is Natalie Oliveros, and who is one of the industry’s biggest stars.
BACK (page A18):
Apparently the Times thinks Americans are, as the kids say, so over the issue of detainee rights that the dearth of pornography plots trumped this story by 18 pages.
Obama administration lawyers said Tuesday at a Senate hearing that detainees prosecuted by military commissions should have some of the same constitutional rights as American citizens tried in civilian criminal courts.
Republicans on the Armed Services Committee argued that foreigners now detained on terrorism charges at the American detention center at Guantanamo Bay Cuba, did not deserve those constitutional protections.
“So you are saying that these people who are in Guantánamo, who were part of 9/11 or committed acts of war against the United States are entitled to constitutional rights of the Constitution of the United States?” Senator John McCain of Arizona, the senior Republican on the panel, asked administration officials at one point.
Aside from this article's banishment to the back pages, the story fails to include a substantive factual rejoinder to Senator McCain's misleading statement. Scores of detainees have already been released by the U.S. after being held for years with no charge and incurring what the Times calls "brutal" interrogation techniques but the rest of the world calls "torture."
The Bush administration's process that swept up these detainees, ignored due process and embraced, as Dick Cheney famously said, "the dark side" -- which actually meant perpetrating systematic cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners -- should have no foundation of credibility in a country calling itself a democracy.
The closet the article comes to noting the inherent mendacity in McCain's statement is relegated to a sentence in the second-to-last paragraph (incidentally, is this a new Times editorial decision -- "harsh interrogations or torture"?):
What should be stated clearly in this story, however, is that the exact number of detainees who confessed during torture remains unknown. So claiming these detainees are guilty of crimes without yet knowing if the confessions were obtained through torture is preposterous. A concept about which Kafka was well versed.
Glaringly absent from this article as well is the fact that the Bush administration's sanctioning of torture has endangered the lives of Americans and directly led to this legal predicament, in which some detainees might actually want to kill Americans, but since their confessions were coerced through torture they may go free.
It remains unclear what Constitutional rights will be afforded detainees tried in military commissions. Though the closing paragraph might give you an indication:
Such context is nowhere to be found in this article either.