Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Think MSM Are Tough On Bush?

I'm deeply moved by news of the arrest of John Mark Karr in Bangkok for the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. Relief is hard to find; anger and sadness vie for supremacy in my heart.

We blog regularly about mainstream media and politics, but their behavior in this little realm of national and international affairs is exceptionally professional compared to popular media coverage of personal tragedies. And it's not just the National Enquirer and its ilk -- network news, network entertainment shows and the the print media have all behaved horribly, destroying a decent family in the name of viewership and readership.

I've seen at at a personal level, too. The families my wife grew close to and profiled in her film Voice of the Victims all suffered at the hands of careless, thoughtless and even downright mean reporters and editors. And she experiences the same with regularity, especially from TV and radio show producers.

In this case, the media's culpability was slightly muted by the ineptness of the Boulder police and the terrible advice the Ramseys were given following the tragedy. Clamming up and surrounding themselves with attorneys helped cause a managable situation -- a police investigation going bad and a vicious pack of hungry reporters -- to spiral out of control until the Ramsey's were ruined financially and emotionally.

But most of the responsibility remains with the media for beating the drum, for sacrificing reputations without a thought, and for calling the slightest whiff of a rumor "news."

Financial ruin left the Ramseys ill equiped to deal with Patsy's cancer, so the media also bear some responsibility for the terribly sad fact that she died just over a month ago and is not alive today to see her daughter's killer go to trial. Fortunately, she knew an arrest was nearing. AP quotes a statement by John Ramsey today:
"Patsy was aware that authorities were close to making an arrest in the case, and had she lived to see this day, would no doubt have been as pleased as I am with today's development almost 10 years after our daughter's murder."
Will we hear a single word of apology? Will there be a moment of circumspection?

Not a chance. The horde will roar off after Karr, and trample the Ramseys a bit more in the process by dredging up all the old "theories" of the crime.

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