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Friday, April 23, 2021

A contrarian view: Why New York Times reporters covered upstate New York sex scandal with something approaching clarity

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Workers on a fishing boat in Western Samoa, Jul 19, 2018. Alexander Mlynarski/The New York Times

The New York Times was on top this week, covering upstate New York’s high-profile sex scandal with no violence, no name-calling and a kind of clarity most news organizations usually reserve for homicide or crime. The Times’ reporters have done a great job of transcribing the truth, from the most guarded, deepest voices to the most damming insults and massages of truth.

Here are some stories that cracked open some impressive mental gears:

The blowout: It wasn’t Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. or Corey Lewandowski or a single anonymous person who tanked public trust in Albany. It was Larry Silver, a one-time Senate Democratic leader, and his loyal lieutenant, Joseph S. Bruno, the little-known, over-the-hill New York assemblyman who was in for the largest corruption trial in the state since Al Smith Jr.’s 1968 run for president. The Times covered a lesson in state politics.

The unlimited relations: It seems more and more like women deserve more respect, particularly if they may live their entire lives as their own person. The Times explains that women lawyers, their parents and their many colleagues found legal changes in the workplace a welcome development.

Nye Vaughan for The New York Times

The shock of the far future: Harvard. Oh, the future. In a live event, Paul D. Zak, a counselor to the company of Future of Humanity Institute, painted an ambitious future where humanity will experience advances faster than even vice president elect J.T. Rybak of Minnesota imagined.

The junior questioner: Christopher Cribbs, a 26-year-old student at Pioneer High School in La Veta, Colorado, took a lot of questions, not just the expected ones about President Donald Trump and Brexit. He asked more than 100 students of all backgrounds about race, gender and other topics for journalism. One student marveled that he was able to ask 100 questions in less than an hour.

A stab at peace in the Middle East: Donato Sardella, 36, a physician at Jersey City Medical Center, climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower. When he turned on the lights on Thursday, the moment illuminated the discord in the Middle East. An ISIS attack in France a day earlier, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, were also stark reminders of the problem of violence in the world. The Times was on the front lines of efforts to break the back of ISIS, which controls some 2 million people and wants to capture Syria, and to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which includes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, and the spread of Islamic terrorism, and the struggle between Republicans and Democrats to change the election rules that give the GOP a big advantage.

Working relationships: Christine Gahagan — a sidekick to world class professional golfer Tiger Woods and a cocktail waitress — made an icy handshake with him.

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