New York Times, are you just trying to break my heart now?

I grew up thinking you were awesome. Spent my journalism career reading you, looking up to you, having that spot in my brain that every reporter has which whispers Someday maybe you'll write for the New York Times!

You know that's not the case anymore, right? I wouldn't wrap my radioactive fish in you.

But I keep thinking you'll at least get it right now that everybody's watching. And you continue to astround me with your sheer cluelessness.

I just finished this story and let me explain to you why we're breaking up for good.


The headline

A Youth, an Officer and 2 Paths to a Fatal Encounter

is straddling the fence so hard I hope it can still bear children. But OK. Fairness and balance and clear-headed objectivity and robotlike language? Check.


On to the first paragraph. Uh-oh. Here it is:

FERGUSON, Mo. — Michael Brown let his 16th birthday come and go without bothering to apply for a driver's license. There was no need, his family said. He preferred to walk.

This is a young man who is dead, and you open with a comment about how he "didn't bother" to do something. Why that word choice? How about he chose not to? Did he even have access to a car? Or why does it even matter? Why not just say he liked to walk? I have a son and he "didn't bother" to get his driver's license at 16 either. He likes to walk too. Also to have me drive him places. If he were murdered in the street in my overly white suburban neighborhood, I just don't think you'd open the story this way. I know you wouldn't. This lead already sets this kid up as some inner-city youth, one of those hostile baggy-pantsers white America is so terrified of, right?


You think I'm being too hasty? Overreacting? OK, let us read the next paragraphs.

In Ferguson, where Mr. Brown was living with his grandmother, he walked nearly everywhere: on Canfield Drive, where his grandmother kept a small apartment, and several blocks away on the bustling commercial strip of West Florissant Avenue, a four-lane road full of hair salons and cheap restaurants that is the de facto downtown of the neighborhood.

Full of "cheap" restaurants, huh? Yeah, it's too bad Le Bernardin hasn't opened its Ferguson branch yet.


Hell, all of Ferguson is so cheap it doesn't even have a downtown. Just a "de-facto" one. snort.

His grandmother "kept a small apartment." Why is the size of her apartment relevant? Would it have been better for her to have a sizeable loft in SoHo? And why don't you ever say Williamsburg residents "kept a small apartment?" They just rent apartments. Or, y'know, just live somewhere.

"Full of" hair salons? Really? How many hair salons? Who do you recommend I go to because if this several-block bustling strip is just bursting with hair salons, this must be the place to get yours done.


Are there any other businesses worth mentioning, or just the hair salons and cheap restaurants?

"Bustling" street? Have you actually watched the video shot of Michael Brown's body lying there? That street is surrounded by apartment buildings, grass and trees. I counted not one hair salon or cheap restaurant.

But by saying he was shot down on a bustling street, you make it appear he was holding up traffic or being some other public safety threat. Did you mean to do that or are you just that clueless?

It was during one of Mr. Brown's walks down Canfield Drive one week ago when he would have an unlikely collision


Note the passive language. "He would have an unlikely collision." Nobody did something to him, he had something happen to him, that's all. A collision. Like a car accident.

What really happened is a police officer shot him dead multiple times while his arms were up. And "unlikely"? Ask the young black men of Ferguson if a collision with a police officer is an "unlikely" event in their lives. ASK THEM.

This is not a time for your waspy metaphors. Insulting. Let's move on before we come to blows.

It involved Mr. Brown, a black teenager who seemed to have avoided most of the traps that dragged down many of his peers, and a white police officer, Darren Wilson, with an admirable record.


OK. That's it. You know what, we're through. Pack your fat gray bags and get the hell out of my brain, because there is no part of me that ever wants to work for you EVER.

It took THREE OF YOU to write this shit?

I can't even read anymore. You don't deserve my eyeballs. ETA: I had to read you for the ticktock. But don't think I enjoyed it. You slurred this young man up and down and praised the cop, but at this point my criticisms are just overkill. Remind you of anything?




ETA: As the day wears on it's clear this is happening everywhere. Good thing we can all keep an eye on it. Omar came up with #NEWSWATCH to post your observations, everybody.