Wednesday, December 13, 2006

This is news

Yesterday's lead story in the Daily News was about the naming of a student activities room at City College, where I teach, after Assata Shakur, a former Black Panther who was convicted of killing a New Jersey State Trooper in the 1970s and is now a fugitive living in Cuba. There was a full cover picture of Shakur with a gun in her hand, dark sunglasses and a big afro, looking like she'd stepped right off the set of Cleopatra Jones. The headline was "DISGRACE!" The story explained that Shakur was wanted as a terrorist with a $1,000,000 bounty on her head. It quoted several New Jersey State Troopers expressing their outrage over the fact that Shaur was being honored at a tax-payer supported public institution.

Here's the thing. The room was named for Shakur in 1989. The sign has been on the door for seventeen years, and the troopers have known and complained about it all along.

So what makes this news?

I'm told it might have something to do with a labor dispute at the school, something about installing a new transformer in the library basement. How this links to a wannabe Che Guevara on the lamb in Cuba for 30 years is something of a stretch though. Certainly News knows better than this.

Talk about a slow news day.


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