Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Sports speculation crowds out actual news on the front page of this morning's New York Times

Larry Rohter's "Chilean Judge Says Pinochet is Fit for Trial" (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/14/international/americas/14chile.html?oref=login) is the most newsworthy of the front page stories on this morning's New York Times.

A Chilean judge ruled Monday that Gen. Augusto Pinochet was competent to stand trial for human rights abuses that occurred during his nearly 17 years as Chile's dictator and immediately charged him with nine counts of kidnapping and one of murder.

Though Pinochet may still find wiggle room (he has before), this is news:

The decision on Monday reversed earlier court rulings that have allowed General Pinochet to avoid facing any charges stemming from human rights abuses during his rule, from 1973 to 1990. In that time, an estimated 4,000 political opponents were killed by state security, military and police forces, many after being kidnapped, and thousands more were jailed, tortured or driven into exile.

The weakest story? Jack Curry's. Oh my God, like Pedro Martinez might be signed to the Mets!!!! OH MY GOD!!!! Boston has bowed out!

Life will never again be the same!!!!!!!! Oh my God.

Yet again, a sports story worthy for the sports page is pimped out to the front page and passed off as news. "U.S. Presses for New Director of the U.N.'s Atomic Agency," "C.I.A. Order on Detainees Shows Its Role Was Curbed," "Rights Group Reports Deaths of Men Held by U.S. in Afghanistan," "Pakistan Denies C.I.A. Is There Seeking bin Laden," "Most G.O.P. Plans to Remake Social Security Involve Deep Cuts to Tomorrow's Retirees,""Governor's Race in Puerto Rico Moves Into the Courts," and many other stories in the main section are front page news.

Little boys getting all excited about who might make their dream team and who might not isn't news. And the Times needs to get that through there heads.

Had he been signed, it wouldn't be front page news. But this gushing over speculation is embarrassing and the paper needs to stop it.

Carl wondered if they were tossing out Carol Vogel's "Judge Rules the Barnes Can Move to Philadelphia" on the front page to say, "Look, we have something for the arts crowd to?"
Possibly. But the Barnes story is a story about money, a story about legal rulings. Does it belong on the front page? At least it's dealing with something of historical importance (Renoirs, Cezannes, Picaossos, etc.). And the story is based on the results of a legal ruling, not speculation.

Eric Lipton & William K. Rashbaum's "Inquiry By City Found Kerik Tie to Building Firm" (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/14/nyregion/14kerik.html?hp&ex=1103086800&en=fde27d32ecf6219c&ei=5094&partner=homepage) is the Times' attempt to play catch up with the story that Newsday owns (and New York Daily News hasn't done such a bad job with it either).

In June 2000, two months before Bernard B. Kerik was appointed police commissioner, New York City's top investigative agency learned that he had a social relationship with the owner of a New Jersey construction company suspected of having business ties to organized crime figures, city documents show.

Note that not only does Guiliani claims he didn't know of this information but also the adminstration as well.

If neither Mr. Giuliani nor the White House learned of Mr. Kerik's friendship with Mr. DiTommaso, or of the city investigation that at least briefly explored those ties, their lack of knowledge would raise questions about the background check that preceded Mr. Kerik's nomination for the Homeland Security post.

That is news. That raises issues and concerns. (The job was, after all, to head Homeland Security. One would hope that serious time would go into vetting all potential candidates for that position.)

John Markoff & Edwart Wyatt's "Google is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database" tells us that Google is teaming up with Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford and the New York Public Library to "create a digital card catalog and searchable library fro the world's books, scholarly papers and special collections."

Ohio's vote gets a paragraph in the National Briefings (via AP story):

OHIO: ELECTORAL VOTES CAST FOR BUSH AS CHALLENGE CONTINUES The state delegation to the Electoral College cast its votes for President Bush, hours after dissenting groups asked the State Supreme Court to review the outcome of the state's presidential election. As expected, the 20 electors voted unanimously for Mr. Bush. "The vast majority of people understand this election is over," said Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican. But the Rev. Jesse Jackson said the challengers had noticed that Mr. Bush generally received more votes in counties that use optical-scan voting machines and questioned whether the machines were calibrated to record votes for Mr. Bush. (AP)

[Note: this post was edited. Typos were corrected (that should read "some typos were corrected") and additional comments were added to clarity. Thanks, as always, to Shirley for catching mistakes and for pointing out where the post needed more clarity. Pedro Martinez's name had been corrected and thanks to Brad and Marcia for catching that.]