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Innocent Until Crucified by the Media?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Right now there's a somewhat local news story about a volunteer at a day care centre who's been charged with sexually abusing some of the children, and the story has really been making me think. The volunteer's name and picture have been plastered on all the newspapers and on the news shows across the provine, and the name and pictures of the day care centre have likewise been a big media focus.

On the one hand, I believe parents whose children may have gone or are going to this day care centre need to know -- they need to be able to find out if their children were also victims of this person and they need to know that this happened in their community. On the other hand, there is no presumption of "innocent until proven guilty"; the way it's being portrayed in the media, this is a done deal: the man's guilty, so there.

What concerns me, though, is what happens if this man (or other people similarly accused of heinous crimes) turns out to be innocent? Nobody is ever going to believe that. The taint of "child molester" (or "murderer," "rapist," etc.) will always be attached to his name and face. What's more, the company that hired him (well, he was a volunteer in this case) will always have this story attached to them -- who would send their kids to this day care, knowing that at least once in their past, they had a child molester working for them? (Even though, of course, they didn't know about that when they hired him and were quite surprised by the accusations against him.)

There is absolutely no way to remove the suspicion, even if he is later found innocent. It's possible that the day care centre will never recover from this -- personally, I can't see me sending my future children there, and as hard as it can be to find decent day care, I doubt I'm the only one who feels this way.

What do you think about this? Is there any way to balance the public safety and the need to warn potential victims with the individual rights of the accused -- who, after all, are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty? The way I see it, any person whose name is attached to a heinous crime will pretty much always be associated with it; same as the way any company or organization that is associated with the criminal and the crime will always be tainted by that association (think of the way that Kent State University will always be known for the shootings -- as actor/director Kevin Smith pointed out, they could cure cancer and people would still be like "Yeah, but didn't you have those shootings a few years back ...?"). Any thoughts?
post #2 of 14
like the players from duke team, Some people will always see them gulity.
now no matters what happens with that volunteer people will seem him that way.

My mother worked for the court system, she had a guy in her program(that was kinda like big brother big sisters thing) well she got him a job working with the court. After they a had a change in judges, My friend disagreed with some of the stuff that was going on. Well some friends of the new judge got some of the kids to accuse him of sexual crimes. Later it all came out that the kids where offered extra food ,and tv time to lie on my friend. Did it matter later? nope. He ended up hvaing to leave to get another job working with kids.

the media only cares about selling adds, selling papers, etc, they dont care what the truth is. No person names should be released to the press until a court of law finds them gulity.....
post #3 of 14
Your story reminds me of what happened to McMartin Preschool in California years ago. After reportedly hundreds of complaints and a trial that cost alot of $$$, they found the accused NOT guilty. It was all started by a paranoid schitzophrenic mother, and psychologists asking "leading" questions and creating false memory instances. They were found NOT guilty...thank goodness, but their names, lives, and business were tarnished for the rest of their lives!!! Very sad indeed. I agree the same thing happened with the Duke case. Those boys will never fully recover. Sometimes the media needs to look at themselves in the mirror and realize what they are doing.....
post #4 of 14
Hey it's worse than that. My nephew, who is a straight arrow, nice guy wanted to become a cop. Some gal accused him of sexual harassment. Knowing him as I do I don't believe it, but let's leave that aside. There was no investigation, no proof, no nothing, but that was enough to prevent him from continuing.

I think the same thing is going on with these so-called cases of sexual abuse. You have people who are not trained to correctly interpret what little kids are trying to communicate going off half-cocked claiming abuse. It is getting so if you hug a little kid you can get accused of it and have your life ruined. I for one have started to turn a deaf ear and simply don't believe any of it anymore. Anyone who believes what they read in the papers or see on TV is naive IMO.

As far as warning the parents goes, I would think that they would see signs of abuse if it were really happening. People are paranoid about this because of all the phony reports in the media. I agree with theimp, no release of names until legal process has occurred.
post #5 of 14
I remember that case Sophie. It was terrible and drug out for years. those poor people.
post #6 of 14
IMO I don't think that ANYTHING should be released to the public until the trial/investigation is FINISHED and innocent/guilty is written on the accused's file.

Media is just a whole sham. That is why many police officers do not release information until they can confirm details or what happened.

I also agree too, the more you taint something because of one bad thing, the less likely its going to have the "bad" label the rest of its days.

I remember a few years ago my friend and I went up to her parents cottage in VerySmallTown, MI. There was ONE murder that occurred there 10 years ago and it was the first murder in 50-60 years.
My mom FREAKED when I said I was going there. Never mind that crime was high where I went to school and death is a daily thing here.

Speaking of death, I'll go off on another tangent and then stop. Most people from the Detroit area labeled as "angry" One article about a year ago on MSN said that detroit was #3 as angriest. You come here and watch the news and its death after gunpoint, after fraud, after job loss, etc being reported on the news.
I go to Chicago and watch the news and there are still some tragedies, BUT they still highlight large stories that are "happy" associated. There is so much tragedy that is reported here that i really think that how much is broadcast does effect our mood and how we think. I have YET to be someplace and watch the news to find it to be as tragic as Detroit's. So when Detroiters complain that we're not receiving tourists, its their own fault. They are labeled everywhere else as "High Crime and Murder" and part of it is due to how much we report on high crime and murder.
post #7 of 14
The press is not about The Truth much anymore. I mean, sure, there are some journalists who are, but not the corporations who run all (without exception, IMO) of the media outlets - TV, newspaper, magazine, radio. It's about money and pushing their agenda. Come on...why else would Anna Nicole Smith's stupid trial to determine who got custody of her body be carried on ALL of the cable media outlets? Why else would Britney's haircut actually even make the news? That part is all about the money. As is the "shock value" stories - if it bleeds it leads. To draw people into watching/reading/listening. The agenda is more subtle, but ever since Fox News came out it's becoming more and more at the forefront of how political stories are reported.
post #8 of 14
Going back to the OP... Kent State is known only by the shootings, only by people who live nowhere near it. In northern or eastern Ohio, pretty much everyone has either gone there or knows somebody who did. It does not define us to most people who will ever have any contact with it. I've don't often get that reaction when I tell people I went there. Incidentally-- the criminal in that case was the National Guard. Not Kent State.

But I agree that people are tried in the media... at a certain point the right to freedom of the press seems to have trampled over the right to a fair trial because in a lot of these cases nobody hasn't heard about it so it is impossible to get an unbiased jury. In any of these famous trials-- What kind of person hasn't heard about it? Extremely stupid people, people out of touch with reality, and people who live under a rock. How is that a jury of your peers?!
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
Going back to the OP... Kent State is known only by the shootings, only by people who live nowhere near it. In northern or eastern Ohio, pretty much everyone has either gone there or knows somebody who did. It does not define us to most people who will ever have any contact with it. I've don't often get that reaction when I tell people I went there. Incidentally-- the criminal in that case was the National Guard. Not Kent State.
Sorry, I didn't mean to disparage the school itself -- it was just the only example I could think of at the time (it was in "An Evening With Kevin Smith," which J and I just watched, so it was fresh in my mind). I'm afraid Virginia Tech will suffer from the same problem in the future ... as will Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, where a misogynistic gunman murdered 14 women because he felt they were usurping his position in the school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
But I agree that people are tried in the media... at a certain point the right to freedom of the press seems to have trampled over the right to a fair trial because in a lot of these cases nobody hasn't heard about it so it is impossible to get an unbiased jury. In any of these famous trials-- What kind of person hasn't heard about it? Extremely stupid people, people out of touch with reality, and people who live under a rock. How is that a jury of your peers?!
Good point ... Scary point. *shudder*
post #10 of 14
I totally agree that the media bombards us with their view, whether or not its true. I was wondering though about a case like John Couey's. His confession was thrown out because he asked for a lawyer and didn't promptly get one. The venue was changed because the case had been so publicized.

Hypothetically the general public could know more about the case than the jurors. There was so much evidence that he was convicted, THANK GOD, but imagine if he wasn't?

I am just rambling - putting the thought out there. I watch too much Law & Order. I by no means think that the media should be convicting people.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirinae View Post
Sorry, I didn't mean to disparage the school itself -- it was just the only example I could think of at the time (it was in "An Evening With Kevin Smith," which J and I just watched, so it was fresh in my mind). I'm afraid Virginia Tech will suffer from the same problem in the future ... as will Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, where a misogynistic gunman murdered 14 women because he felt they were usurping his position in the school.
I wasn't offended by you mentioning it... I guess it is a little sensitive of a topic with me. On those rare occasions where you do get someone saying something stupid about it, it's always just awful, like my high school teacher who after I told him where I was going for college said "Don't get shot! Harhar" and it doesn't have the best academic reputation for some people so in a lot of ways people who went there either get defensive about it or buy into it, which is self-defeating because the less people think of your school the less your degree is worth.

Virginia Tech will suffer the same, if not worse. May 4th (Kent State) was emblematic of its time, along with Jackson State, in the same way VT will become emblematic of this one. In 1970, it was all about us-and-them and the turmoil of Vietnam. Now it's all about random and horrifying violence.

In some ways, it has completed the ripping away of the innocence of our generation. We were in high school or junior high for Columbine and 9/11, and finally once we got to college things were settling down, we felt that surely we could be safe in these isolated little communities of ourselves where people supposedly want to be there-- high school is mandatory, college is voluntary, so if it was really torturing you then why would you be there! And now our whole lives have been filled with uncertainty and it's the randomness of it that is truly traumatic. I look at the faces of those who were killed and I just have to cry. There was no reason for this.

I still see the marks of growing up during the really bad parts of the Cold War on my parents. 50 years later, the paranoia that comes from having air raid drills and nuclear bomb shelters is still evident. When I'm 60, will I still feel that at any moment someone could just walk in and start shooting, no matter where I am?

Sorry, I realize this post is off-topic for the thread... it is about the media I guess, roundaboutly, as still the media can't wait to blame someone. They blamed the students at Kent State (they did, I've read the papers from May 1970) and now they're blaming the school at VT. They started blaming the school before we even knew that more than one person had died. In a sense... VT has been crucified by the media just like Scott Peterson or OJ or anyone else.

A matter which is epitomized by the release of Cho's tapes. What reason could they have aside from ratings? It didn't do anything to help the victims and only added to the raw horror of it.
post #12 of 14
One thing that bothered me about the VT story this past week is that the media was DRIVING the story. They would ask, "Now, so-and-so, aren't you ANGRY that the administration didn't warn you sooner after the first shooting?" Now, maybe they should have, but I still think that in that case the media was actually making the news...
post #13 of 14
I agree. Watching Nancy Grace on the day it happened made me want to vomit. The students were all still just shocked and that eerie calm before the storm... and there she was, already angry about it and calling for heads to roll five minutes after we heard there was more shooting... before we even knew how many had died. Soon after the news people all started asking and a lot of the students answered "no" they weren't angry at the school.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
I agree. Watching Nancy Grace on the day it happened made me want to vomit. The students were all still just shocked and that eerie calm before the storm... and there she was, already angry about it and calling for heads to roll five minutes after we heard there was more shooting... before we even knew how many had died. Soon after the news people all started asking and a lot of the students answered "no" they weren't angry at the school.
I've never seen or heard this Nancy Grace person, but the more I read about her, the more I don't like her. If she has any redeeming qualities, I've never heard about it.
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