Reporting on a "Lower Extremity"

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It was interesting to see how News 12 Westchester, a regional channel owned by Cablevision, handled the story of the leg washing up on a Gold Coast estate on Long Island. The discovery of a woman's torso washing ashore in Mamaroneck, New York has been a top story on the channel since it broke earlier this month, News 12 repeatedly showing the torso's crude tattoo featuring a pair of cherries in hopes that someone will identify the victim.

Then yesterday, the leg–or, "a lower extremity of a human body," according to police–came ashore across the Long Island Sound in Oyster Bay, New York. Complicating the issue for News 12, it landed on the estate of Cablevision CEO James Dolan.

Jay Gatsby notwithstanding, it's safe to say that people with Gold Coast estates tend to like their privacy. But News 12 added the Dolan angle of the story right where it belonged–some time after the rest of the key points, such as a possible link to the torso–were examined.

The New York Post, on the other hand (whose employees don't draw paychecks from Dolan), offered a headshot of Dolan above the headline "Lady's Leg Washes Up at Dolan's L.I. Home" on today's page 7.
By Michael Malone

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