How The New York Times Made Me Sad

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I usually buy the Washington Post. I live in Washington, after all. But today, with banner headline New York news, I wanted the New York paper. So I coughed up the extra 75 cents and bought my very own copy of the Times. But then, on the front page, in the lead story, the Times ran this:

"Mr. Spitzer, 48, spoke in a somber but steady voice, softening his usual barking tone. He took no questions. His wife, in a dark suit and a brightly colored scarf, looked off to the side, occasionally glancing up to reveal deep circles beneath her eyes."

That's a great graf. Except for the bit about the clothes. Did they describe Spitzer's striped suit and blue tie? Nope? Why not? Why isn't that relevant? Oh. Wait. It's because neither of their clothes are relevant. If Silda Wall Spitzer came wearing her pajamas, as if she could just barely get out of bed, that would be relevant. Or if she was dressed ironically as a hooker. Other than that, please tell me a good reason we need a description of what political wives are wearing. (Describing females by their clothes is not a good reason).

And then, there were extended teasers that directed me to section C. I obligingly turned there to find... Business Day. Because I do not live in NY, my New York news gets shoved into "New York Report" at the back of the business section, even though it's big enough news to warrant a banner headline in the Washington Post, which, like me, is in Washington. Sigh.

Relatedly, in the Style section the Post ran a profile of New York's first lady (I guess she gets the title through Monday). The verbs "to wear" or "to dress" to not appear at all in the whole article, and this is the only mention of her in the lead article:

" With his wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, at his side, Spitzer apologized for what he said were "my private failings" and said he is stepping down so as not to "disrupt the people's work.""

There we go. The relevant information is that she was there, though I thought describing how tired she looked was a good touch from the Times.

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Written Pyramids is a blog written by a journalist living and working in Washington D.C.

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