It’s good to see some old-fashioned New York spirit seep back into our dealings with the evil, evil evildoers. Yesterday, we happily listened to Mayor Bloomberg channel (for once!) an authentic fuggeddaboudit ‘tude: “You can’t sit there and worry about everything. Get a life. You have a much greater danger of being hit by lightning than being struck by a terrorist.” Flippancy is the new vigilance! Today, the Times gets in on the act the way only the Times can — haughtily yet self-consciously. National editor Suzanne Daley, fielding readers’ questions, explained why the paper defiantly stuck the JFK pipeline plot into the Metro section: “Not all plots are the same,” she wrote. “The plotters had yet to lay out plans. They had no financing. Nor did they have any explosives.” Hear that, aspiring terrorists? No above-the-fold action unless you’re sitting on an A-bomb. Daley continued: “Some [editors] argued [the story] should have been fronted, regardless of the lameness of the plot, simply because it was what everyone was talking about.”
It’s nice to know the days when John Ashcroft would hiss something about “chatter” and we’d all dash for duct tape are gone with, well, John Ashcroft. It’s equally nice that a story’s popularity apparently doesn’t even figure into the logic of the Times’ front-page meetings.