Florida Pilot

A compendium of random thoughts from a former Washington Beltway insider who is now having a lot more fun flying small airplanes in Central Florida.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Desperate to sell newspapers?

The St. Petersburg Times, self-styled "Florida's best newspaper," has chosen to devote a front page story, complete with picture, to the British woman kidnapped and under torture in Iraq. The story, subheaded "A Desperate Appeal" includes a photo taking up about a third of the space above the fold. The photo shows the woman in obvious distress and captioned "AP/AL-Jazeera" which suggests an interesting team-up between a traditional news service and one with a known radical-Islamist (and anti-Bush) agenda. (I couldn't find the picture online to post a link.)

Is it that newsworthly that a group of crazy people can capture someone and torture that person until they say whatever the captors want to hear? -- in this case, that the woman wants British troops withdrawn from Iraq. Did nothing newsworthy occur in the entire Tampa Bay area (the Times publication zone)? If not, perhaps the Times could save a forest and publish a smaller paper (or not at all). Actually, it seems like the local television outlets did find a few local newsworthy stories that apparently were beneath the interest of the Times.

Does the Times realize that excessive promotion of this kind of incident will encourage more of the same? How many more papers did the Times sell this morning? Or was this run as a way of helping John Kerry who desperately wants the United States to fail in Iraq and elsewhere.


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