Trial By News Media - And Response

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The two shooting incidents resulting in deaths are tragic.  Several families will never be the same. I don't know who was right or wrong because I wasn't there and as far as I can tell none of the very vocal public speakers were either. 

What I am seeing is yet again how powerful the news media is in directing public opinion in different directions. When the teenager was shot, Channel 9 News reported a clear cut case of two people trying to steal something from a homeowner with an adult waiting in the getaway car.  When the robber ran toward the homeowner, he shot to protect himself.  When the elderly man was shot it appeared to be a clear case of a homeowner fearing for the safety of his family. Even the sheriff said publicly that it was a tragic case where a man felt threatened and acted accordingly, that they had even picked the elderly man up and taken him home in the past because he was lost and confused. At the time the sheriff seemed to accept that the homeowner was within his rights to protect his family.

Now with the public demanding that justice be served, suddenly Channel 9 is portraying the teenager as a child politely asking for scrap metal to make extra spending money, and the frightened homeowner as an out of control trigger happy gun owner. Jesse Jackson is reportedly getting involved because it smacks of another Travon Martin case.

My point is simple. The public screams for justice based on what the reporters tell us on the 6 o'clock news. In these two cases, I feel like the reporters are creating news stories as a reaction to public opinion. I would much prefer the reporters tell us the facts as released by the people who have investigated the shootings. 

Harry Presley
Chattanooga 

* * *

I stopped watching News Channel 9 a couple of years ago because I realized that they were presenting opinions instead of factual information. I want the facts of the story and I can draw my own opinions. They do a grave injustice to this community with the way they present the news. 

Martha Jean Rice
Chattanooga


A Vote For Education Is Critical In Tennessee

In a state where just 28 percent of eighth graders are proficient in math and 33 percent are proficient in reading according to national assessments, education is deserving of more attention in 2014 elections. Across the country, more parents are making informed decisions about their child’s education, but for Volunteer State parents without resources, choices are difficult to come ... (click for more)

The Committee For Plain English On Hamilton County Ballots

First, there is no “committee.”  But there ought to be. Now I am not the brightest guy in the county. I only have a Bachelor of Science degree (five years), Graduate work in English, Philosophy and Economics (two years) and several years experience teaching at Chattanooga State and substitute teaching in Hamilton County public schools.  I recently voted in the November ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

Cold, Wet Front To Make For Chilly And Damp Trick Or Treating; Snow Showers Possible Saturday

A surge of cold, moist air will make for less-than-ideal trick or treat conditions on Halloween night. Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing this weekend. There is a possibility of snow showers in Chattanooga on Saturday. Here is the latest forecast: Today Showers likely, mainly after 5pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Calm wind becoming northwest ... (click for more)

Owls Beat McMinn, 30-12, To Complete Unbeaten Regular Season

Undefeated. Sounds nice, huh. After a sluggish first half that produced only three points on a Laszlo Toser field goa., third-ranked Ooltewah came to life in the third quarter, riddled McMinn County’s defense with three Kelvin Leon touchdown passes in the third quarter and went on to beat the Cherokees, 30-12, at James N. Monroe Stadium to secure the school’s third unbeaten ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Clobbers Grundy Co. For 7-AA Title

Notre Dame coach Charles Fant is always hoping that his Fighting Irish football team can get off to a fast start. He never thought it would be as quick as what he saw Thursday night at Jim Eberle Field. With a District 7-AA championship on the line on an evening when they honored all of the fall senior athletes, a football game turned into a track meet and eventually a victory ... (click for more)