Free pass for AT&T

Here's why I just want to smack our daily sometimes.

Above the fold June 8, with lots of dramatic followup: City lies about playground inspections, some playgrounds in bad shape.

Above the fold June 15: DA Susan Reed may have secured special treatment for her son's friend, who was caught packing heat at an airport.

Nowhere to be found today: Congress reaches a FISA deal that includes retroactive immunity for the companies -- including hometown behemoth AT&T -- that caved into the Bush Administration's post-9/11 illegal-wiretapping program. The New York Times quotes Republican Representative Roy Blount of Missouri saying confidently, "The lawsuits will be dismissed."

Mind you, the playground and DA stories are newsworthy (although, as a fellow journalist noted to me at last night's Red Dot event, if you're going after someone of Reed's caliber, get the real goods. I like to call the type of story they ran ankle-biting.) but so is news that a major local corporation is going to get off the hook for breaking the law and violating untold numbers of customers' legal rights. A total of 17 stories begin or are teased on the paper's front page today, including news that Congress is examining the horse-racing industry (RIP Eight Belles). But bupkis about the FISA legislation.

Wait! Maybe it's on the cover of the Metro section? Nope.
The Business section?! Nope.
The website as of 10:35am clearly thinks it's more important that Naomi Campbell was found guilty of air rage than that no one will be held accountable for the administration's and telecoms' bad behavior.

The Express-News didn't even have to write the story themselves; they could have just picked it up from the New York Times (which did run it above the fold today), as they often do. A story finally appears (buried) on page 4a -- and while it does feature a nice pull quote from the ACLU, the piece, picked up from the Los Angeles Times, plays down the immunity provision more than the NYT story.

But, hey, maybe the Ex-News is just working on an in-depth cover story that'll appear above the fold in this Sunday's paper ... that'd be nice.


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