The New York Times, whether consciously or not, has just endangered Darren Wilson’s life.
With tensions running high in Ferguson over the lack of an indictment for Wilson’s killing of Michael Brown, the paper has published the officer’s approximate address -- the street and town where he lives with his new wife, who also is named.
Given the racial animosity unleashed by Brown’s death, given the rioting and the looting and the stores that were set afire, how can a news organization make it easier for some crazy zealot to track down Wilson?
But there it is in the paper:
“Officer Wilson and [blank] own a home together on [blank] Lane in [blank], Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a half-hour drive from Ferguson.”
I mean, why not add a locator map?
The piece was a seemingly innocuous scooplet about Wilson, who had dropped out of sight before the grand jury decision, getting married.
As Mediaite columnist Joe Concha puts it, “Regardless of your thoughts on Wilson’s guilt or innocence, how can anyone believe providing his street and name of his wife be anything but irresponsible?”
The Times has published a correction -- but not the kind you would expect:
“An earlier version of this post included a photograph that contained information that should not have been made public. The image has been removed.”
But that was not a reference to Wilson’s address, which was in the text of the story. Rather, the paper deleted a photo of Wilson’s marriage license.
Journalism is full of close calls. This is not one of them. The Times should apologize.
Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.