A major terror plot to blow up fuel tanks and a pipeline feeding New York’s JFK airport and nearby residential communities made front-page news this weekend across the nation. The terror story also led all the major network and cable news shows.
But The New York Times didn't think the story was so important.
In fact, on Sunday the country's leading liberal daily carried a simple one-paragraph reference to the story on its first page, buried in the news brief section. The Times brief said the plot posed "no imminent danger."
The front-page brief referred the reader to a full story on Page 30 in the "New York Metro" section of the day's paper.
Interestingly, the Times story acknowledged the seriousness of the threat, noting that one of the four suspects in the plot, Russell Defreitas, had boasted that the destruction at the airport would be so vast that "even the twin towers can't touch it."
The Times reported: "Officials said the four men determined to carry out their attack, having conducted 'precise and extensive' surveillance of the airport using photographs, video . . . and satellite images downloaded from Google Earth.
"They said the men had also traveled repeatedly to Guyana and Trinidad in recent months, seeking to obtain the blessing and financial backing of an extremist Muslim group based in Trinidad and Tobago called Jamaat al-Muslimeen, which was behind a failed coup attempt in Trinidad in 1990."
But in downplaying the story, the Times stressed that the airport was "never in imminent danger because the plot was only in a preliminary phase."
What did the Times deem fit to print on its front page ? The two featured stories on the page were headlined: "A legal debate in Guantanamo on boy fighters" and "President's push on immigration tests GOP base."
Talk Show America 6/5/2007