Shocker: Times Pays Conservative D.C. Newspaper a Crime-Fighting Compliment

Reporter Jeremy Peters offered a rare compliment to a conservative media outlet - for a law-and-order feature, no less - in his Monday Business section story "Now in Print: To Catch a Fugitive." The Washington Examiner has a weekly item called, "Most Wanted," featuring a fugitive from the law, which Peters calls "a valuable crime-fighting tool."

Peters began by saying the paper was "known around the nation's capital for its conservative bent" and unbeatable price (it's free). Also:

About once a month, the United States Marshals Service in the Washington area apprehends a fugitive caught with the help of Examiner readers. So far, marshals have rounded up 24 suspects after receiving calls from people who read about a fugitive in the paper.

The captures are the result of a weekly item in The Examiner called "Most Wanted," which has featured a fugitive for the last two and a half years. Readers are provided a number to call if they think they have any information about the case. More often than not, they do.

The marshals said that even when "Most Wanted" articles did not lead directly to a capture, they could yield a tip that in some way helped an investigation - like an old address where the fugitive had been hiding out.


Given the paper's conservative tone, might the high rate of success with reader tips say something about a certain lust for justice among right-leaning Examiner readers?

The editor, Stephen G. Smith, said he thought not, saying that many of the captures take place in poor neighborhoods that are not heavily Republican.

"It would be nice to think our conservative readers are these nice upstanding, law-abiding citizens, but I don't think that's why the Marshals Service is getting all these phone calls," Mr. Smith said.

Too bad the Times doesn't have a similar civic-minded feature. In fact, the paper takes the opposite approach on the crime issue, resorting to accusations of racism against those who are tough on city crime like former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.