For The New York Times, the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was not news fit to print – at least not on the front page.
America’s “paper of record," headquartered just three miles north of Ground Zero, dramatically scaled back its coverage of the latest anniversary of the attacks, in which terrorist flew planes into the Twin Towers, killing thousands. In typical Times fashion, the decision sparked hand-wringing and introspection among the Old Gray Lady’s top brass.
“In subsequent years, we do have to mark these moments, but it will be in a more modest way.”
- Carolyn Ryan, New York Times metropolitan editor
“Some anniversaries offer a natural reflection point,” Metropolitan Editor Carolyn Ryan told Margaret Sullivan, the paper’s public editor, an on-the-payroll watchdog. “Last year’s 10th anniversary of 9/11 surely fit that category. “In subsequent years, we do have to mark these moments, but it will be in a more modest way.”
Sullivan wondered if it was enough. She noted that on the 10th anniversary of one of America’s darkest days, the Times published “an ambitious special section, along with major stories on the days leading up to the anniversary.”
But what Sullivan dubbed “anniversary journalism” often finds little to cover outside of related local events, she said.
“There isn’t always much to say that is original,” Sullivan wrote.
The Times did manage to run stories about infighting among politicians regarding development at Ground Zero and, on Sept. 10, an investigative report laying some of the blame on intelligence-gathering failures by the Bush administration.
Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, said the Times owed more to its readers, especially those in its hometown.
“It’s disgraceful on two levels," Bozell said. "First, as a national issue, this being the single deadliest attack on America since Pearl Harbor. And, secondly, as a local issue. This is, after all, The New York Times, not the Honolulu Times.”
The backdrop for a Democratic National Convention tribute to U.S. military veterans was apparently a fleet of Russian warships.
The event occurred on the final night of last week’s convention when retired Adm. John Nathman paid tribute to veterans, in front of a gigantic screen that showed what appears to be ships from the Russian Federation Navy, according to The Navy Times.
At least two experts told the publication they were certain the ships were Russian and that the backdrop image appears to be a composite photo that includes U.S. trainer jets flying overhead.
The background shows four ships with radar designs apparently not used in the U.S. fleet.
Navy veteran Rob Barker reportedly detected the apparent mistake and notified The Navy Times. He said his assignment as an electronics warfare technician included the identification of foreign ships by their radars.
The Democratic National Convention Committee was contacted Wednesday but did not comment.
“The ships are definitely Russian,” said author Norman Polmar, a naval and aviation expert. “There’s no question of that in my mind.”