Presumption of Innocence in the Media is Gone

I think the U.S. news media just got tired of the word “allegedly” in regards to OJ Simpson case in the 90’s and thereafter.
Now when anyone is up on charges or accused of anything above an exact threshold that they set, they are “insta-guilty!” in everything but the most stoic of sources in American culture.

I tend to think that “Blago” as we want to call him is not at all innocent of these charges but I wrote a piece of student-journalism regarding the whole issue without accusing him in innuendo or directly. It’s not exactly hard to presume innocence.

[Read “Government Corruption: What to Know to Protect Ourselves” on my Observing America weblog.]

It just drives up ratings / hits if you call him a “corruption king” or a “master of evil” or a “fraud miser.” Solid evidence be damned! Prosecutor opinions and partial pieces of a case leaked to the press be praised!

Yes, I heard the tape of him swearing every other word. And I saw all the FCC blocked out quotes, too. (Why do they even put things like that on TV when it’s more asterisk than English?)

But any one of us could have secret tapes made of us where we said crazy stuff we wouldn’t say in public. Now imagine taking the whole tape and cutting it into 5 seconds or one paragraph of juiciness.

See how anyone could be the media boogie-man by tomorrow regardless of how insane they actually are? Maybe you’re next on the list.

We hold court in this country for a reason.

So the court of public opinion doesn’t start ‘Blago Mobs’ in Illinois, in this case.

You tell me why it is a good idea to have a free media that freely assumes guilt of anyone facing charges they think are big enough to matter.

Not to mention that statute violations and ethical board decisions are often passed over or reported in brief and then unreferenced in later discussions because they do not stimulate enough ratings due to the ‘oh that’s boring’ and the ‘give me a real scandal’ attitudes.

What other media watchdogs are barking, I wonder?

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