The New York Times today fronts a heartbreaking story about a “99er” — a formerly successful businesswoman named Alexandra Jarrin who is on the verge of living in her car because her unemployment benefits have run out.
But there’s an undeveloped aside that the reporter, Michael Luo, and his editors shouldn’t have let slip. Near the end, Luo writes: “She says none of her three adult sons are in a position to help her.”
Let’s assume that if we knew why, we’d understand. By letting this loose thread dangle, though, the Times undermines the premise of the entire piece — that Jarrin is suffering solely because of Congress’ failure to extend unemployment benefits.
If the Times wants to pull at our heartstrings, then it ought to tell us why none of Jarrin’s three sons will provide their mother with a place to live.
Update: Sharp-eyed reader Isaac Benjamin notes that Luo has addressed the matter in the comments. I read the story in Times Reader, which does not include comments. And I hear that the Times still publishes a print edition. I hope the paper runs a clarification tomorrow.