UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 18, 2009

IF YOU'RE A STUDENT OR A PROF AND PLAN TO BE MURDERED, BE SURE YOU GO TO HARVARD OR YALE

Jack Shafer, Slate - If you plan to be murdered and expect decent press coverage, please have the good sense to be a Harvard or Yale student or professor. America's top dailies and the cable networks will rush to the scene of the crime and sniff the vicinity for clues to your demise. They'll scrape your personal history and publish enough information to serve as a foundation for a made-for-TV movie about you. Likewise, if you kill somebody and want the press to go all Nancy Grace on your ass, make sure your victim attends or works at Harvard or Yale. Journalists almost everywhere observe this rough rule of thumb: Three murders at a Midwestern college equal one murder at Harvard or Yale. . .

The New York Times, one of several Ivy League house organs, has already published five articles about Le's disappearance and murder and the apprehension of suspect Raymond Clark III. The Boston Globe has published at least six stories about the case, and the Washington Post has run at least three briefs from the Associated Press. The Times of London, published five time zones away, can't seem to sate its appetite for Annie Le news. Even the proletarian New York tabloids-the Post and the Daily News-have gone ape for the story.

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