Missing the boat

The New York Times is like a huge boulder on the edge of a hill.   It takes an act of the gods to move it.  But once it moves, it rolls downhill, gathers speed and surpasses most other media in telling the story, at least the factual story.  Such is the case of the cap-sized cruise ship, Costa Concordia, off the Tuscany coast in Italy.

A few days passed before the Times seemed to realize this was a big story and finally put it on Page One where it belonged all the time.  This is not the Times‘s kind of story.  It’s too visceral for its editors to grasp at first.  They prefer the intellectual approach, cooler heads guiding reportage of stories of what they see as long-lasting significance.  Like the Arab Spring, Putin’s political future in Russia and, at home, the GOP presidential race.

But perhaps there is an agenda stirring as well.

The paper’s sluggish steps off the starting line with the Costa Concordia story made me wonder.  Was the Times deliberately pulling its punches to protect the tourist industry?   The Travel section on Sundays is a tremendous money-maker and is noted for its industry-friendly coverage.  That includes cruise lines.  Did editors at the Times first fear a rush to judgment on the capsized ship would offend advertisers?  You have to wonder.


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