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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Monday, August 12, 2002

In a Shameless Attempt to Hype a Front Page Story

The NY Times delivers this headline and lede:

Livestock Tests Chasing Cheats From State Fairs

EDALIA, Mo., Aug. 11 — Katlin Stump, 10, was under suspicion here this weekend at the Missouri State Fair.

Katlin, a blond farm girl with an angelic smile, had to prove that Big Red, her entry in the junior steer show, was not a ringer.

As we read through the story, we learn that there was a cheating problem at livestock fairs in the mid 90's; as the headline suggests, events are much better controlled now; that Katlin Stump is going through the same controls applied to every other competitor; that no cheating allegations against her are being reported; and in the last sentence, that her steer passed the routine screening.

So, a simple human interest hook to drag me through the story. But this is a ten year old girl! Well, here are some more story ideas for the Times, famously edited by Howell Raines.

1. After landing at JFK airport returning from her trip to Paris, Mrs. Howell Raines was suspected by US Customs officials of attempting to smuggle contraband into New York.


2. Eagerly waiting in line for her flight to Disneyworld, Blaine Harden's daughter was under suspicion by airport security for attempting to hijack a domestic flight.

No, I don't expect we will be seeing those stories soon. And we never, never should have seen this lede.

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