Let us connect four dots.
On September 11, 2001, some 3,000 people were killed by Islamic terrorists in New York, Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania. It was a big story; indeed, it made the front page of the New York Times for quite a few days running.
On December 9, 2006, a Muslim convert by the name of Derrick Shareef, a U.S. citizen, was indicted on a charge of attempting, as part of a plot to wage “violent jihad,” to use a weapon of mass destruction — grenades — to attack Christmas shoppers in a mall in Rockford, Illinois. It made page sixteen of the New York Times, and was recounted in 129 words.
Today, November 20, 2007, Shareef pleaded guilty to the charges. It made page 28 of the New York Times, and was explained in 90 words.
Today, on the same day, in the same newspaper, is a story about sports entitled Concussions Leave Colleges and Players in Murky World. It received 1,439 words and appeared on the front page.
What do these numbers tell us about how the New York Times reports on the terrorist threat to the United States in the years since September 11?
Readers who respond with the correct answer will receive a free copy, autographed by me, of former CIA officer Michael Scheuer’s forthcoming book, Marching Toward Hell. (A stamped self-addressed envelope with the correct postage sent to the offices of COMMENTARY is required for entry. Offer void where prohibited.)