Friday, August 18, 2006

Jumping the gun on the JonBenet case

"A tragedy nears an end."
"Family's years of fear, anger come to an end."
"The decade-long search for JonBenet Ramsey's killer came to a startling end in Thailand on Wednesday."

As quickly as news outlets were willing to declare the JonBenet Ramsey case closed Wednesday, they had to admit to a growing skepticism Thursday. (Thai police said John Mark Karr admitted drugging her, but the autopsy says she wasn't drugged. He says he picked JonBenet up from school, but schools were closed for the holidays. His ex-wife says he was in Alabama at the time, not Colorado. And today even some of those rebuttals are being rebutted.)

Now we get:
"True confessions?"
"Cracks in the confession"
"Questions Surround JonBenet Suspect"
"The Jury's Still Out In the Ramsey Arrest"

Editor & Publisher quotes a legal analyst warning, "In this particular case when you have an uncorroborated confession, I think it's good to be cynical and to be skeptical."

An LA Times TV critic said: "As quickly as it had cast suspicion on the parents 10 years ago, cable news quickly set about trying and convicting Karr, even though the leading practitioner of open-and-shut outrage, CNN Headline News' Nancy Grace, was on vacation, and little in the way of hard facts was being released."

The CBS News blog Public Eye said: "What we're seeing right now could accurately be titled a media frenzy. And in that environment, there is nothing more apt to produce misleading information than an absence of information for hungry reporters."

And there's no better environment for good saves by hungry copy editors.


At 10:32 AM, August 21, 2006, Blogger Andy Bechtel said...

And no better environment for wire editors to exercise news judgment on the real value of this story.

At 11:55 AM, August 27, 2006, Anonymous rknil said...

And just like with the Mitch Albom fiasco, copy editors aren't making those saves.


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