The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Sex slave story still alive - but what if it dies?

A New York Daily News piece today quotes the Boston Globe piece I mentioned on February 9.

It also says
...officials in Plainfield, N.J., where the shutdown of a brothel in 2002 provided the opening scene in The Times account, have disputed writer Peter Landesman's description of the neighborhood in question - including the absence of porches cited by the writer.

Peter Landesman will no doubt recall the description offered by Jayson Blair of the
tobacco fields and cattle pastures
surrounding Jessica Lynch's house - entirely a figment of Lay-Z-Boy Blair's imagination, of course.

Topography is often more accessible and reliable than the average human witness.

The defibrillator paddles are being lubed up as I write; but there's still just the chance the story can be given the General Franco treatment up to Sunday; when Daniel Okrent, who has more or less accepted the case onto his docket, is due to give a regular ombud report to the Times readership.

What if Okrent gives a glowing endorsement to the journalism that went into the piece?

There may be good corporate reasons to defend the sex slaves piece, even if it is flawed; Okrent, independent though he may be, has to decide whether this is case to take on the NYTC in all its majesty, and we're supposing for the sake of argument that he's decided to pass.

When does Landesman get his next commission? (Or assignment, or whatever.) Or is the sex slaves piece his last for the Gray Lady?

A search shows 8 Times pieces bylined by Landesman since 1996; the last long piece before the recent one was Arms and the Man on August 17 2003; before that, A Woman's Work on September 15 2002.

So to delay his the appearance of his next piece (I can't remember if he's known to have a project in hand) till next year would not disrupt the pattern.

On the other hand, any piece by Landesman - wherever it's published - will have the sex slaves file reopened.

A quick return would be a poke in the eye for the guy's critics: if the Times is sure that the sex slaves story is, despite appearances, really watertight, that might be a way to go - senior editors must be seen as supporting their boys when the going gets tough, for obvious reasons.

Every which way, Landesman remains a marked man.

MORE (February 12)

Even more so when one takes on board the fact that
Variety reports that Roland Emmerich has made a deal to turn Peter Landesman's Jan. 25 New York Times Magazine cover story about sex slaves, "The Girls Next Door," into a feature film that he will direct.

There are so many dots there, they don't need to be connected! The incredibly speculative nature of all such movie projects hardly needs to be pointed out: Landesman will be unable to persuade the most aggressive banker to take that contract as security for a Park Lane apartment, I suspect.

However, take a $1 lottery ticket: if some guy comes along and pinches it, do you think, That's a buck gone; or do you see the thief walking off with your chance for the jackpot?

Enough spinning of wheels...

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