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The New York Times' Coverage of Sex Crimes Continues to Be an Absolute Disgrace

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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[Trigger warning for sexual violence; rape apologia; victim-blaming.]

Not two months after the New York Times was quite rightly resoundingly excoriated for its appalling coverage of the rape case in Cleveland, Texas, I read this unbelievable piece about a New York City police officer on trial for raping a woman who he had been summoned to help while his partner "stood guard."

The article is headlined "In Rape Trial, Officer Calls Woman the Aggressor and Says They Only Snuggled." Now, using the claims of an accused rapist as a headline is a pretty dodgy move in the first place, but it's particularly repulsive when it is patently a lie: The story later reports that the woman has a recording of the officer "in which he made several statements implying that he had had sex with her."

That piece of information, however, is buried in the nineteenth paragraph, well beyond the first couple of paragraphs read by the average reader. Leaving a crucial fact that contradicts the headline until six paragraphs from the end of the story is such awful, and such evidently biased, reporting that it quite literally would not have passed muster in my high school Journalism 101 class.

But here it is nonetheless, in the Paper of Record.

In an article, by the way, which opens with the sentence: "For the past several weeks, Police Officer Kenneth Moreno has sat silently in a courtroom amid accusations that he raped a drunken woman whom he had been called to help."

A drunken woman.

Not inebriated. Not intoxicated. Not incapacitated. Drunken.

She is drunken. Her alleged rapist, however, is emotional: "Officer Moreno flatly denied ever having sex with the woman, becoming emotional when one of his lawyers, Joseph Tacopina, asked him about the allegation."

Well. Between a drunken slattern and an emotional officer of the law, it's clear whose story we should believe. Please disregard the recorded evidence in paragraph nineteen.

Email the Public Editor, Arthur Brisbane and/or submit a Letter to the Editor. ads
 

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