There's lots of evidence the drug war targets minorities, but the Times has been slow to catch on. In June 1999, two months after the Esquire story ran, Jeffrey Goldberg tackled racial profiling for the Times Magazine. It was a fun story, but safe, quoting cop apologists and raising the ACLU's claim that the DEA teaches racial profiling only to dismiss it.
Then the Times turned to "Race in America." You would think an expensive series aimed at winning a Pulitzer might have investigated how cops treat blacks, which Goldberg had called "the most charged racial issue in America." Instead, the series only touched on racial profiling once, obliquely, in a story last July about minority cops who refuse to engage in it.
Goldberg, now with The New Yorker, wrote this about racial profiling: "Anecdotes are plentiful, but hard numbers are scarce." According to a current Times staffer who chose to remain anonymous, "So often, the Times needs an astonishing amount of evidence presented by official sources for something to be a big story, when in fact the reality was there all along."
Times editor Landman says the idea that the Times relies solely on official sources is "ridiculous." "We have and impose on ourselves a high level of proof," he told me. "It's a standard that prefers persuasive evidence to people's opinions."