Arson at Councilwoman’s House Generates Unstated-But-Implied Conspiracy Theorizing

The Daily News lays out the pieces. It just won't say what they mean.

Unusual story from the Daily News today, in that it lays out a few pieces of evidence without directly saying what those pieces, taken together, seem to imply. The pieces:

• Last week, there was a fire at a house owned by City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez.

Edwin Diana was arrested for arson in the fire.

• Diana was living in a nearby house owned by Margaret Zapiec.

• Zapiec, who died recently, is a sister of state Sen. Tina Tartaglione.

• Tina Tartaglione is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Thomas Sanchez.

• Thomas Sanchez is husband of Maria Quinones-Sanchez.

What a coincidence!

Now: The police say their investigation is over, even though the councilwoman is certain there was more than one culprit involved in the crime. Tartaglione says Diana was staying at the home following some problems with his own family, and supports calls for a full investigation of the matter.

But the Daily News story seems to imply a chain of possible responsibility beyond Mr. Diana, doesn’t it? It’s the old “just asking questions” theory of journalism: Printing the questions lets you get a juicy idea into general circulation when you don’t have the last few bits of evidence to say what you’re trying to get everybody to think. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that — and we’re fans of Sean Collins Walsh — but readers might want to be a little careful with the conclusions they draw and express publicly, as a result. The Daily News has libel attorneys. You probably do not.