NY Post Defends Notorious ‘Bag Men’ Headline As ‘Attention-Getter’


The New York Post’s infamous “Bag Men” headline published in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings wasn’t defamatory, the newspaper argued in its libel suit defense, just an “attention-getter.”

The Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple reported Monday that the newspaper, embroiled in a libel claim filed by the two Boston residents depicted as suspects in the Marathon bombings on its front page, argued in a court brief that its headline was nothing more than “a play on words” considering that “a headline is ‘commonly understood to function primarily as an attention-getter.'”

But lawyers for Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi suggested that headline had a strong criminal connotation, according to court filings.

Wemple highlighted the linchpin of the Post’s response: “In the final analysis, all that plaintiffs ultimately have to say by way of complaint is that the Post printed a large headline that brought more attention to them than they believe was warranted, and that readers who jump to conclusions might have jumped to a wrong one — at least until they realized a day later that they were wrong.”

This post has been updated.

Masthead Masthead
Editor & Publisher:
Managing Editor:
Senior News Editor:
Assistant Editor:
Editor at Large:
Investigations Desk:
Front Page Editor:
Editor for Prime & Special Projects:
General Manager & General Counsel:
Executive Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: