The original story of Kitty Genovese’s death, first promulgated by the New York Times in a front-page article 50 years ago today—young single woman brutally murdered while 38 strangers watched and did nothing—was incorrect in almost every particular.
The murder itself was horrifying, of course. The Times got that right. But the story that made Genovese a household name and a symbol of modern social dysfunction got nearly everything else wrong. From the number of witnesses to the details of the crime to the timing of the police response, there are by my count no fewer than 29 significant errors in the original Times story, five of them in its very first sentence.