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Why did the New York Times not report this hate crime?

There was a memorial march in Queens for Lou Rispoli, the musician and musical administrator who was beaten horribly to death last month in what police are treating as a likely gay-hate crime. No arrests have been made. A reward of $22,000 is being offered for information.

If you search Google for ‘Lou Rispoli’, the top entry is Tim Page’s moving tribute to his friend and colleague, here on Slipped Disc.

Nothing appears on the far more powerful engine of the New York Times. That’s because the Times has not reported the crime.

We have been told by two reliable insiders that all the necessary information was given to the Metro desk by a member of the paper’s music staff, but the organ of ‘all news that’s fit to print’ did not see fit to report and publish a crime of prejudice that took place on its own patch.

Nor has it published an obituary for a man who played a visible and valued role in the city’s musical life. Lou was the long-term secretary of the late composer Virgil Thomson.

Can anyone explain that? Has the sclerosis of the Times arts department now reached into the vital arteries of news gathering?

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  1. As a reader who lives in NYC, I can say that the Times has become increasingly politicized and increasingly
    close to, if not financially dependent upon, the Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, whose reputation is in part based on Police Commissioner Ray Kelley’s crime fighting- some would say militarized police brutality- prowess. So, to the extent his heir apparent has screwed up – I won’t go so far as to accuse the police of homophobia, though many officers are- you probably won’t hear of it in the Times. It is something the Village Voice might report. Alternatively, one might use one or more of the political advocacy groups to get coverage- e.g., an organization like where a petition could be started and then go viral- at least to put the Times (and “hizzoner” and his greying “golden boy” Kelley) publicly on the spot to take action.

  2. Hi Norman,

    Thanks for bringing some more attention to this tragedy.

    Lou lived in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens, in a building where my uncle and aunt are the superintendents. I had the opportunity to meet Lou and his husband several times at family get togethers such as Thanksgiving and other holiday dinners. They were such incredibly nice people.

    Just a small correction to your post: It is in Sunnyside where the march and vigil took place, between the building and the

  3. (Continued from previous)

    …location of the crime.


  4. paula brochu says:

    Nothing about Times coverage surprises me anymore.

  5. Rebecca Jay says:

    I am a long time close friend of Lou and Danyal’s – it’s almost 40 years since I first met Lou. Apart from the shock of the news (I live in the UK), the lack of mainstream coverage is also a real shock and lessens the city of New York – which I have visited many many times and love – in my view.

    I would thoroughly support a petition via – I watched one go viral and gain 8,00 signatures in a matter of 20 minutes the other day. Change can happen – someone needs to start it. I am not sure it is my place to do so but I would totally support it and spread the word.

  6. Rebecca Jay says:

    * that should have said 8,000 signatures…

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