NYT’s Arresting Lede

Yes, my eyes first went to all that colorful confetti falling (whee!) in the large photo of the Hillary and Chelsea Clinton embracing on the front page of today’s New York Times (paper edition). But then I saw this, the first sentence of Adam Liptak’s article in the far-left column of the Times’ A-1:

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

Talk about an, ahem, arresting lede.

Everyone should, of course, read beyond the lede to get Liptak’s explanation of why it’s the length of sentences that makes our prison policy exceptional (enough to be the focus today of Liptak’s American Exceptions series) and how “democracy” (our “highly politicized criminal justice system”) might contribute to that. (Strange that there’s no mention of the prison industry/who profits from our vast prison population and long prison sentences.)

In all, a fascinating-startling read. Hopefully all future debate moderators (and the folks who help them write their questions) didn’t miss it.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.