New York – Dear Editors,
Today was a tragic day. It was tragic because the multitudes of your readership, the citizenry of New York City, the workers, the apartment dwellers, were exposed to a despicable and vile evil. This evil was found on the front cover of your Sunday edition.
Your newspaper, of all papers, should realize that words do matter. And headlines matter most of all. Because headlines influence how people not only view a narrative, but how people see the world and how they respond to the day to day interactions of life. When headlines justify the taking of human life, a dark and shameful line has been crossed.
Your headline this Sunday entitled, “Slumlord found Burned in Dumpster – Who Didn’t Want Him Dead?” is outrageous precisely because it calls for open warfare on landlords.
Whether the accusations of Menachem Stark’s land-lording methods are true or not is not the issue. Nor is the issue that you have arrogated for yourselves the role of judge, jury, and executioner in how you have covered and headlined this horrific tragedy.
You have justified murder in the eyes of your readership.
If your landlord is slow on calling the exterminator, or a leaky ceiling after a snow storm, it is okay to want him dead and act upon it. It is justifiable. Warranted. Completely understandable.
Here is a man who was brutally murdered, and yet with no evidence whatsoever but innuendo alone you have declared Mr. Stark and thousands of other landlords like him, as perfectly justifiable candidates – for their lives to be snuffed out.
Your words are border-line incitement to murder. Yes, murder.
Your paper didn’t shed a tear for a widowed wife. Nor for eight orphaned children. No. What you did was first label Mr. Stark a slumlord, justify his horrific murder, and perhaps that of others owners of buildings too.
What can we expect next, dear New York Post? Are you planning to post the names and addresses of other landlords along with the school’s that their children attend so that other outraged tenants can kidnap, suffocate and burn them too? Are you planning to call for more green dumpsters in Great Neck as well?
Dear, dear New York Post, anarchy is never justifiable. Murder is never justifiable. And such a headline is never justifiable as well. Never ever.
A few weeks ago, there was another murder that happened in Israel. A sixteen year old Palestinian took a knife and stabbed to death an 18 year old soldier asleep in the backseat of a bus. When the New York Times covered the issue, they didn’t mention the pain to the family of the victim. They mentioned the pain to the family of the terrorist murderer.
To their credit, the New York Times apologized and admitted the error of how they covered the story.
The question is will you?
We never saw a headline like this on a terrorist. Nor have we seen it on Bin Ladin, after he murdered 3000 lives in the World Trade Center terrorism.
The family and community that you have spat upon with this contemptible headline will not voice its outrage by rioting or setting fire to your buildings. They will swallow the obnoxious and loathsome insult quietly, as you sit smirking to yourselves in your leather-lined offices counting the number of issues that you have sold in running this headline.
How can you sleep at night, dear New York Post? How can you sleep knowing that you may have aided and abetted the future murders of landlords, that as the dirt on the grave of a man who was snuffed out in the prime of his life is still moist, having only been placed there a few hours before you went to print?
For shame, dear New York Post. For shame.