(WASHINGTON, DC – June 26, 2002) The recent coverage of the funeral of John Gotti served as a vivid reminder of how the media has a peculiar fascination with organized crime figures. The coverage in our mind was inappropriate in its proportion, insulting to law abiding persons and insensitive to John Gotti’s victims.
As an Italian American organization we take offense because this media frenzy served to reinforce a viciously false stereotype that organized crime is the sole province of Italian Americans as well as a main identifying feature of our community. This might be a logical inference. Will the media for example give similar attention when in the future we lose leaders such as Geraldine Ferraro or author Gay Talese or renowned AIDS researcher Anthony Fauci?
We are appalled at the excessive amount of coverage afforded to Gotti as well as the sympathetic articles and columns written about someone who was a murderer and drug dealer first and foremost. Rank and file Italian Americans are repulsed by the likes of John Gotti. That should be the message that the media understands about our community.
Let us hope that the glorification of the mob by the media like John Gotti has found its final resting place.