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The New York Times Editorial Board Opens Their Mouth Before Checking Their Facts

New York Times building with New York City traffic rushing past

For decades, the New York Times was considered a bellwether for responsible journalism. If you read an article in the Times, even if you didn’t agree with it, you could be reasonably sure the reporter had done his due diligence. You could also be reasonably sure that the editorial board double and triple-checked their facts before opening their collective mouth on an issue. Not anymore.

Over the past 20 years the Times, along with most other newspapers, has been fighting a losing battle with the internet. In order to try and bolster readership they’ve abandoned their once lofty standards. The latest example of this is their recent editorial in support of bail bonds reform. The main thrust of their argument was that if bail reform worked in New Jersey, it will work in New York. There’s only one problem with that argument. Bail reform didn’t work in New Jersey.

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Bail Reform

Like a lot of left-leaning media outlets in recent years the Times has largely abandoned journalism in favor of publishing ‘progressive’ propaganda. One of the favorite targets of so-called progressives is bail bonding. So in an effort to play to their dwindling regressive - sorry, progressive - base the Times went ahead and made their declaration equating New York’s bail reform measures with those in New Jersey. But they apparently didn’t notice that:

A) The two states have taken completely different paths to reform and

B) The path New Jersey chose has been an unqualified disaster.

Let’s look at both points a bit closer.

A) Different Paths

Apparently hoping their readership wasn’t up on current events the Times editorial equated the bail reform efforts of New Jersey and New York. But, although they’re destined to have similarly disastrous outcomes the two measures actually have little else in common. New Jersey’s bail reform measure is anchored by an amendment to the state constitution (passed by voters) that provides prosecutors and judges with new, and sweeping, powers of preventive detention. People can now be held without any possibility of bail for as long as the court deems necessary.

New York’s bail reform initiative on the other hand simply lets everyone go unless they’ve committed murder or some other atrocious act. Most voters are simply not aware of the ramifications of simply letting everyone go. But some are paying attention. More than 100 civil society groups signed a letter to Governor Cuomo asking him not to embrace the bail reform measures as currently constituted. He did anyway.

But that’s not all. The New Jersey bail reform initiative mandates a system of statewide supervision be established to monitor those released without bail. This incredibly expensive system (we’ll get to that in a moment) was necessary because nearly 90% of defendants are now being released with no incentive to appear in court to face the charges against them. That’s because there is no bail for them to lose if they don’t show up. Plus, there won’t be a bondsman coming after them if they don’t appear. As there would have been in the past. New York’s reform measure, by comparison, makes no provision for any type of monitoring. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that is going to come back to haunt the citizens of New York.

B) Unqualified Disaster

The other aspect of the recent Times editorial that went off the rails was their assertion that New Jersey’s bail reform measures have been a success. They haven’t. Quite the contrary. The facts are these:

  • In spite of promises that jail populations would decrease they’ve actually begun to inch upward. That’s after a slew of high profile cases where individuals released without bail went on to commit heinous crimes.
  • The number of defendants not showing up in court has skyrocketed. In spite of the millions spent to implement the new monitoring system. The end result is that bail reform in New Jersey is creating an entire generation of fugitives from justice.
  • Speaking of millions spent… Less than a year after eliminating most bail bonding the New Jersey judiciary was forced to make an emergency request for funds to the state house. They said they needed millions of dollars in additional funding or the entire justice system in the state would go broke within months. The reason for the money drain? Monitoring all those people released without bail.
  • There is no longer any mechanism in place to track down and return fugitives from justice to custody. In the past this invaluable service was provided by bondsmen at no cost to taxpayers. Now it’s simply not done. So justice for real victims takes another hit.

If these facts represent ‘success’ to the editorial board of the New York Times we’d hate to see what they consider failure.

Conclusion

As is usually the case the so-called progressives pushing bail reform are not the ones who will have to live with its consequences on a daily basis. Certainly Governor Cuomo who lives behind an iron shield of public and private security will not be bothered by streets teeming with dangerous fugitives. But you, the average taxpayer, will. When the regressive forces of bail reform return to Colorado (and they will) to push their snake oil in Jefferson County, Arapahoe County and Denver County send them packing. Just because states like New Jersey, New York and California are willing to jump off the societal cliff doesn’t mean you have to follow them.

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