Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Morally Clueless At The New York Times

The New York Times ran an article yesterday celebrating the award of a Rhodes Scholarship to Chesa Boudin, 22, for overcoming "striking challenges" to earn this most establishment certification of promise. What were those "challenges?" Well, after making passing reference to some very real obstacles (including dyslexia), the Times gets down to the actual reason for the story: Boudin's parents have been in prison since he was 14 months old. The article opens by describing how Boudin was not even able to share the news of his accomplishment with them.

Emily Yoffe describes the Times coverage in Slate:

Boudin's parents are Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, who were members of the violent 1960s radical group the Weather Underground. They are in prison for their part in the murder of two police officers and a guard as the result of a robbery of a Brinks armored car in New York at the late, unradical date of 1981. The Times, while having space to describe the origin of Chesa's unusual name—Swahili for "dancing feet"—apparently didn't have room for the names of the men murdered. They were Sgt. Edward O'Grady, police officer Waverly Brown, and Brinks guard Peter Paige. You can read more about them at Nor does the Times mention the obvious point that the nine children left fatherless that day—the youngest was 6 months old—have also missed the pleasure of having their fathers see their accomplishments over the years.

So the names of the murder victims are not news to the Times. But, see, if CBS is not harping on Augusta National and Tiger Woods and all that, Howell Raines says THAT'S front page material!

[Link thanks to John Ellis]

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