As part of Ad Age’s continuing media-about-media coverage, a brief look at the weekend’s all-consuming talking point—the death of wealthy financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in a Manhattan jail cell—and how one prominent media outlet is spinning it.
The official story that it was a suicide was initially disseminated by much of the mainstream media—including the New York Post, whose first report Saturday morning began, “Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died overnight in an apparent suicide, federal officials said.” But by Saturday evening, as the paper’s editors were putting the next day’s paper to bed, skepticism won out. The tabloid’s Sunday headline (above left) would refer to Epstein’s death as a ‘SUICIDE’ in quotes—and a subhead also conveyed doubt with quote marks: “Outrage as Jeffrey Epstein ‘kills self’ after sex files exposed.”
The cover of this morning’s Post (above right) once again gets the skeptical headline treatment—“EPSTEIN ‘SUICIDE’ SCANDAL”—and as an added bonus, inside the paper there’s a piece by Sohrab Ahmari, the Post’s op-ed editor, criticizing media figures who have no time for Epstein-related conspiracy theories: “Journos’ debunker mentality: Rush to rip conspiracy talk.”
Meanwhile, Fox News, the New York Post’s corporate cousin in Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, just published this story: “Jeffrey Epstein feared cellmate, a muscle-bound ex-cop charged in murder who was moved before financier’s death: report.”
For further perspective, a helpful rundown from Time magazine: “Jeffrey Epstein’s Death Jeopardizes Justice and Fuels Conspiracy Theories. Here’s What We Know So Far.”