One of Italy's top journalists has harsh words for NY Times 'ideological' coverage of a stabbing spree

Last Thursday a 25-year-old criminal with a long history of arrests named Vincent Pinkney went on a stabbing spree in Manhattan. His first victim was an Italian Ph.D. student at Columbia University:

The student, Davide Giri, was traveling home from soccer practice just before 11 p.m. when he was stabbed in the abdomen about two blocks from his apartment building, the police and friends said. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead…

Mr. Giri, a Ph.D. candidate in computer science who was expected to graduate in May, had begun working as a research assistant at Columbia around 2016, after studying at schools in Italy and Chicago, according to his personal website.

Giri reportedly called for help before he collapsed and died. After stabbing Davide Giri, Pinkney stabbed another man who happened to be an Italian tourist. The Times only devoted this one article to this story and the only description of Pinkney consists of his name and age.

The New York Post ran a much more dramatic story about Pinkney’s stabbing spree including another possible victim stabbed the night before and a couple who narrowly avoided being stabbed last Thursday:

Pinkney is charged with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly attacking Italian tourist Roberto Malaspina about 20 minutes later.

A police official said that a witness described the accused stabber as “jumping around — happy” after the attack…

Witnesses told cops that Malaspina’s assailant ran into Central Park, where lawyer Gregory Johnson, 30, said that a man came up behind him and his girlfriend as they were walking his dog, Peanut — and swung a kitchen knife at him without saying a word…

Pinkney has been busted 11 times since 2012 on charges including robbery and assault, and was on supervised release from prison for beating a man and slashing his face in 2013.

He is also being investigated for the stabbing of another tourist — this one from Germany — fewer than 24 hours before Thursday night’s bloodshed, sources said.

In a follow-up story, the NY Post reported that Pinkney had connections to a violent gang:

Alleged Columbia killer Vincent Pinkney was allied with an upstart gang called EBK, short for Everybody Killa, according to sources…

EBK “represents a gang policy of open warfare,” the San Joaquin, Calif. District Attorney’s office wrote in a 2019 statement announcing an investigation into the group’s activities.

They also reported that Pinkney was on probation at the time of the stabbing spree, having been released after serving a four year sentence for a gang assault.

What’s particularly interesting about this story is that because two of the victims were Italian, the story was picked up by newspapers in Italy. And a famous Italian journalist named Federico Rampini who writes for a top Italian paper and who occasionally teaches journalism at UC Berkeley wrote a piece criticizing the NY Times‘ tepid coverage of the incident. Rod Dreher published an English language translation of his piece:

Almost everything is known about the man who savagely assaulted the Italian researcher as he returned to Columbia University after a soccer game. But none of this news is visible in The New York Times. A landmark newspaper for the city and the nation. Yet distracted and reticent about a tragedy that occurred in the heart of Manhattan.

Name, surname, age of the murderer are the meager news provided to readers. The news article was confined to the local pages, with little visibility. On the newspaper website, the first version was not followed by any update. Brief testimonials from fellow students, a statement from the rector of Columbia University, make up an evasive and terse article. Zero news about the perpetrator of what could have been a massacre…

Why don’t New York Times readers know anything about Pinkney except his age and last name?

The newspaper’s interest, and the investigative vigor put into the field, would have been different if the parties had been reversed. That is, if the victim had been African-American and the murderer a white man; all the more so if that white man had been a member of some organization that preaches and practices violence, for example a right-wing militia. The tragedy would have made the front page, a team of reporters would have been mobilized to investigate the murderer’s background, history, and motivations…

The New York Times has chosen a reticence that borders on self-censorship, consistent with the editorial line of recent years. The canons of American journalism have been twisted, particularly during the Donald Trump years when it became a boast in progressive media newsrooms to practice “resistance journalism.” The search for balance or impartiality was considered a weakness: the end justifies the means…

The pain for the absurd death of Giri would not be compensated by a different focus of the press, but this event offers a disturbing look at the “new journalism”, militant and conditioned by its ideological agenda. Even crime reporting bends to this tribal logic.

Rod Dreher notes that the Times devoted more attention to a black bird-watcher who was confronted by a woman in the park than it did to the stabbing spree. That’s no an accident. Some crimes fit a narrative the Times likes and some do not. There’s really no mystery here at all.

Here’s a local news report on the man who nearly got stabbed by Pinkney before helping police track him down.