Trial By News Media - And Response

Wednesday, December 4, 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


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