New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan has criticized the Times‘ decision not to send a reporter to cover Bradley Manning’s pretrial testimony. Good for her. Times Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt, however, defends the paper’s decision.
We’ve covered him and will continue to do so. But as with any other legal case, we won’t cover every single proceeding. In this case, doing so would have involved multiple days of a reporter’s time, for a relatively straightforward story. The A.P. article recounting the main points of Mr. Manning’s testimony about his conditions of confinement that ran on page A3 of The Times conveyed fundamentally the same material as a staff story would have. And Charlie Savage covered his conditions of confinement, as they were being debated, in two previous articles: http://goo.gl/dvFV0, http://goo.gl/gYTX7.
Again, though, readers can definitely expect more coverage of Mr. Manning in the weeks to come.
Not so good for him.
Cause here’s the deal. Once upon a time, there was a trial involving O.J. Simpson. Nicole Brown Simpson, his ex-wife, was found dead on June 12, 1994. After that, the Times ran 494 stories—and that was before the jury had even been sworn in on November 2, 1994. Then the Times ran 453 stories—and that was before the prosecution even made its opening statement on January 4, 1995. And then the Times ran 1110 stories—before the jury delivered its verdict on October 3.
The reporting pieces were written by senior Times staffers such as Seth Mydans, David Margolick, and Francis X. Clines. And the commentary elicited the efforts of William Safire, Russell Baker, Anna Quindlen, Frank Rich, Brent Staples, A.M. “Out of My Mind” Rosenthal, Michiko Kakutani, and more.
So I think Mr. Leonhardt can spare a reporter or two to tell us what Bradley Manning has to say.
Update (1 pm)
I should have mentioned this in my original post: If you want the whole story on Bradley Manning, you have to read Chase Madar’s book The Passion of Bradley Manning. Chase has been on this case for a long time; would that the Times took his lead.