Vice Squad
Sunday, February 29, 2004
Some Updates

(1) The controversial New York Times Magazine article (January 25, 2004) on sex slavery in America has attracted yet more coverage, this time (once again) in the Times itself. (See one of Vice Squad's previous posts, which declared that the article was sensationalized.) Among previous Times' responses, the article brought a lengthy editor's note (on February 15 -- registration required), and even a letter from our nation's Attorney General about the steps being taken to combat the problem. Today the relatively new "Public Editor" of the Times devoted his not-exactly-weekly column (registration required) to the Sex Slaves article. The Public Editor takes the article's author to task, accusing him of writing a piece of "advocacy journalism" (apparently not a sin in itself for the Times Magazine) and of the author and the Magazine editors of carrying "the advocacy to a fault." But the Public Editor ends up pretty much as a defender of the article: "So do you tear Landesman [author of the Sex Slaves article] apart because you don't believe his sources, or because you can't locate an audit trail to some of his assertions? Or do you accept the hideous realities he describes and emerge convinced that sex slavery is a genuine problem? I do the latter - I just wish he and his editors had been more circumspect in making the case."

Incidentally, the Public Editor position at the New York Times is an innovation sparked by the Jayson Blair fabrication scandal. Mr. Blair's book will soon be released, and it reportedly recounts his battles with alcoholism and his use of cocaine to help fuel his writing.

(2) On February 17 Vice Squad noted an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune written by a deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Drug WarRant provides an update on the related goings-on at the editorial pages of the Chicago papers.

(3) Yesterday we mentioned the (perhaps temporary) demise of one civil asset forfeiture law in a New York county; today, we note that such laws continue to attract supporters, this time for anti-prostitution purposes in Eureka, California.

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