In an unprecedented move, there will only one story on the front page of tomorrow’s Sunday edition of The New York Times.
There will be not a single photo on the front page, another first for the New York newspaper of record.
Instead, the entire front page will list the names and a brief biography of a small one percent fraction of the Americans who have died from the coronavirus pandemic.
The list of names is accompanied only by the headline: “U.S. deaths near 100,000, an incalculable loss” and a subheading urging the reader to look at each victim as an individual and an integral part of our nation — “They were not simply names on a list. They were us,” the sub-headline reads.
At first glance, the small type and long lines of uninterrupted text may fool the reader into thinking that they were reading the legal notices section of the paper rather than the longest and most prominent set of continuous obituaries In the paper’s history.
Although The Times did publish biographies of virtually every person killed in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, they never before have dedicated an entire front page to a simple list of those we’ve lost in a major disaster before.
Even worse than seeing the names and realizing that each name represents a human life lost, is the realization that this lengthy list of names could be nearly 10 times longer if it were to include each and every victim identified so far as having succumbed to the virus.
Given the likely undercounting of deaths due to COVID-19 early in the pandemic when testing was even scarcer than it still is today, the list likely omits many more victims whose deaths have still to be recognized as coronavirus-related.
While Donald Trump has been no fan of the publication he regularly refers to as “the failing New York Times,” he is likely to completely blow a gasket when he sees this front page. It will be hard to tell what he will be more upset about: the public manifestation of the damage his inaction to stem the spread of the pandemic laid bare for all to see in a starkly graphic form or the fact that his photo wasn’t on the cover to accompany the obituaries.
If this doesn’t inspire you to fight for the removal of Trump from office in the November elections, then who knows what possibly could?
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.