21 Jul 2003 What’s With the Washington Post, Anyway?
Just three days after my first diatribe on this subject in this blog, I am once again wondering about the Washington Post’s attitude toward children. Specifically, if the Post’s editorial position (accidentally or otherwise) is that the death of a child is less newsworthy than the death of an adult.
In today’s edition the Post runs a heartbreaking story. Here’s an early paragraph in the story about 44-year-old Allen Boyd, Jr., whose entire family is dead.
They are gone now, his family, every last one. Each a victim of his or her own hand, five suicides over the course of 25 years. First, his movie-star-pretty mother, Sara, an elementary school teacher. Next, his twin brothers, followed by his sister and finally his father, Allen Boyd Sr.
If you stop at that part of the story, you’ll believe the family had six members, and five committed suicide. The phrasing “each a victim of his or her hand, five suicides…” seems very straightforward, right?
Only if four-year-olds don’t count.
It seems that when Allen Boyd’s sister committed suicide, she first shot and killed her four-year-old son, Ian Boyd Sheppard. So, the family had seven members — five lost to suicide, one murdered, one still living.
So why doesn’t the story present it that way?
In the print edition of the Post, by the way, the top of the story is graced with headshots of the five sucide victims. A photo of the four-year-old who was shot in the forehead by his mother is the only dead member of the family whose photo does not appear in this lineup. (A photo of Ian, an adorable lad, posed standing between his grandfather and the woman who later killed him, does appear on an inside page.)
I don’t know what to think.