Two New York newspapers made strong public statements last week through the publication of front-page editorials.
New York's Daily News's headlining opinion piece was a reaction to a political row in Albany, the state capital of New York, which has paralysed the State Legislature. The editorial, unabashedly outraged in tone, called for the halting of senators' paychecks and expenses allowances for the duration of the Legislature's closure:
"Let them make fools of themselves. Let them not make fools of us. Let them not take our money for shutting down an entire house of the New York State Legislature."
The diatribe introduces the New's 'Don't pay the bums campaign'. The article relays the 'wasted' costs of Senate operations, rendered even more unjustifiable during the current political dispute by the prospect of legal fees and damages. The paper requests readers to fill out an included coupon to express their support for the motion that senators not be paid for this time. The collection may then be forwarded on to legislators.
The content evidently betrays the agenda. The writer of the piece, Editorial Page Editor Arthur Browne, told Editor&Publisher that the idea was to convey residents' deep discontent with "the dysfunction in Albany."
"The legislature's failure to behave responsibly just became unacceptable," Browne reasoned.
The editorial appears to be serving its purpose. According the paper's website, by this morning hundreds of outraged Albany residents had expressed their support for the campaign, either online or through the coupon system.
On Sunday, The New York Times Executive Editor, Bill Keller, in an unusual move published his description of the atmosphere in Iran during the recent elections. It appears that Keller was writing in Tehran during the events.
"It is impossible to know for sure how much the ostensible re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad represents the preference of an essentially conservative Iranian public and how much, as opposition voters passionately believe, it is the imposed verdict of a fundamentally authoritarian regime", Keller wrote.
The use of front-page editorials is rare in the Anglo Saxon press. It is a far more common practice, however, in some European countries, such as Italy and France, to publish the start of editorial pieces in a front-page side column.