Crime Waves: Mimes and High-Profile Journalists

Today, plenty of overlap between our three dailies. All, for example, tell the tales of the Medicaid fraudsters and temperamental newsman Dominic Carter.

Nineteen New Yorkers are charged with falsifying Medicaid paperwork and receiving benefits for which they did not qualify. Some are uncomfortably upper-middle-class. All have pleaded not guilty.

The Times goes the extra mile to make our Medicaid swindlers come to life as characters. Its article bills one, Steven Colucci, as a “painter and mime,” and even quotes some of his press:

A 1982 New York Times review of one of Mr. Colucci’s shows as a mime said that he brought “an extra physicality to the art form.”

“His energy is high but always controlled — his body straining into high extensions, his pelvis thrusting out and mouth pulled into ragged silent exclamation,” the review said.

The Daily News, however, wins in its coverage of the Dominic Carter story–the NY1 anchor was put on leave yesterday, and his wife testified at his trial for assaulting her. The big news may be Mrs. Carter’s total denial of the previous accusations against her husband (she now blames her injuries on a mysterious day laborer), but Carter’s remarkable self-regard set the tone for the proceedings. The News writes that Carter told the judge he was a “high-profile journalist” and as such should not be subjected to legal indignities:

“I’ve appeared on the cover of The New York Times and TV Guide,” Carter said in a Dec. 11 court appearance in Rockland County that was released Thursday. “I covered the state attorney general and the chief judge of the court.”

The New York 1 political anchor also claimed he was friends with former chief judge Judith Kaye and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

Plus, Carter warned, if his “political enemies” found out about the charges, it would “end up in the Daily News.”

Not the absurdist glory of mime crime, maybe, but pretty hard to beat for straight-up irony.

The Post gleans no uniquely crazy detail from either story. But it is the only paper to feature a photo of painter-mime Steven Colucci. He is depicted neither straining his body into high extensions nor thrusting his pelvis out, thank God.

Crime Waves: Mimes and High-Profile Journalists