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Full Disclosure In The Media

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dcc001, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Dcc001

    Dcc001
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    In 2009, I was living at my father's house in a very, very small town just outside of London, Ontario. A little girl was abducted from her school in Woodstock, which - relatively speaking - is right next door.

    Three months later, her body was found. Three years later, one of the two accused stands trial while the other - who has already plead guilty and is serving a life sentence - is testifying against him.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.nationalpost.com/betrayal+Tori+Stafford/6297549/story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.nationalpost.com/betrayal+To ... story.html</a>

    I mean this very sincerely: ^ that article is horrible, and if you cannot tolerate reading about the most horrific way a child can die, please do not read it.

    What has jumped out at me during this trial is how very graphic the media is being with the details of this case. Prior to the trial, the testimony and evidence was under a publication ban. That has been lifted, and the media are reporting everything.

    Focus: Should the media be allowed to fully disclose every gory detail of a crime? I am not suggesting the details should be avoided in court...I'm talking about reporting them on a national level. Should the public's "right to know" not be tempered with some sensitivity for the family and the deceased? Does the sensationalism in a sick way not encourage similar behaviour in other deranged people? Does this kind of attention reward the accused, in however perverse a way?

    Not a part of the focus, but I just need to say aloud publicly somewhere that this case has affected me like no other I've read about. That poor girl. I'm not religious, but I asked a coworker who is to please light a candle in church in her memory. I don't know how the family can sit through hearing that, and I don't know how we as a society can justify not executing a person for that crime.
     
  2. kindalas

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    Focus: Every once in a while society needs a reminder of how the world is uncaring. For me where I get annoyed with media is when it moves from information sharing to a form of entertainment. The OJ Simpson trial was practically a soap opera. But in this case for some reason I'm not getting that "this is entertainment" vibe.

    I just hope that when the two guilty people/things/animals/scum get tangled up in their boot laces the media takes the time to explain how they too were made to suffer just to remind the public that even criminals have a sense of right and wrong.
     
  3. toddamus

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    Fairly recently in San Diego John Gardner abducted two teenage girls and killed them. What he did to them seems common knowledge by this point but in respect for the families and the girls the exact details of the crimes and preceding events were not disclosed. When it comes to minors and gross violent crimes disclosing the gory details is classless and invades the dignity of the victim and the victims families.

    So no, the media shouldn't disclose every detail.
     
  4. bebop007

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    I'm reminded of an exchange Charlie Brooker had on his show Newswipe

    The media aren't informing the public with things like this. It's pure If It Bleeds It Leads. It doesn't give the victim's family any solace. It doesn't bring the victim back to life. It won't rehabilitate the killers in any way, shape, or form or prevent lunatics like this from popping up. In fact, it'll probably influence others to do the same.

    It will sell the shit of newspapers and keep people glued to their tvs, though. That's the important thing.
     
  5. kuhjäger

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    I like the way things are done here a lot more than in America. If someone is arrested, the media can't print their picture or name (except in extreme circumstances) until they are convicted.

    It keeps sensationalist reporting and vendettas from occurring. You won't get a tainted trial because lets face it, in the US, people are guilty until proven innocent in the media, and just an arrest because of a false accusation is enough to get you blackballed professionally.
     
  6. Crown Royal

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    The Tori Satffaord story makes me sick every time I read it here--- it had a media ban for the longest time, and then-- all of a sudden-- they lifted it, and our Newspaper instantly printed every hammer blow (literally) in absolute, unrelenting graphic depiction.

    THAT SHIT IS WRONG. There is still such a thing as "morals" and "respect for the victim and their family". At least I think there is, because there is fucking NONE given here. Nobody around here NEEDS to know she was wrapped in bags and beaten to death after being used as a rape toy, but fucking EVERYBODY knows this now. How does this help? It helps us hate her killer(s) more? Impossible. Yesterday in the paper, that fucker was grinning ear-to-ear at the camera as he sat cuffed in the back of a car like he's thrilled of his fame. Believe me, we ALL fucking hate Lafferty and McLintlock more than imagine around here.

    Media doesn't not care about this shit. They don't care about the girl or her family and friends. They are as heartless as any other corporation, and if it bleeds, it leads-- even if it's an innocent 8-year-old girl that was thoroughly brutalized and then died in fear and pain and being given false hope.
     
  7. downndirty

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    Precisely.

    The media should treat each case like it's a family member of the CEO. Seriously, what kind of worthless human being describes the rape, dismemberment and death of a child? The only person worse than the perpetrator is the organization trying to profit from it. Why is that public knowledge blasted to the front page instead of buried in some police report as information few people truly need?

    I lived a town over from the Susan Smith catastrophe when it happened and the cops who initially claimed she was lying were treated like Judas' ass fungus until she confessed. The only reason that happened was because of the media hysteria that bypassed objective reporting around the .1 second mark.

    In Honduras, at each car wreck was a score of raised arms with camera phones, trying to capture the gore. It took the beleaguered police force hours to clear the roads and I am convinced that people have died because an ambulance driver couldn't get past the dozens of rubberneckers. One of the worst things the newspapers did was run an ad saying "We will buy your cell phone photos of news." In a country the size and sophistication of Tennessee, what other news was there than a series of gruesome deaths and accidents?

    In an obituary, no one cares how you died, just that you died. Fuck adding detail for the journalistic equivalent of a snuff piece.
     
  8. lostalldoubt86

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    My feelings lean towards this. I do think that people need to be reminded of how brutal people can be. But I also think that the media takes it too far. 24-hour coverage is what takes it too far. They feel the need to discuss every aspect of the case. This really only sensationalizes everything. Especially in the United States, the general public form opinions based on the coverage from 3 different 24 hour news sources that don't always cover things in the same way. This leads to outrage at the verdict if it's not the harshest sentence imaginable.
     
  9. The Village Idiot

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    Yes, absolutely. In the US, it's a First Amendment issue.

    The First Amendment should not be tempered by much of anything from the government, especially on such a slippery slope scale of 'sensitivity.'

    This idea is very scary. It's akin to 'thought policing' and is the basis for the political correctness movement in the US. To wit: "If we just think the right things, we'll do the right things." People see and hear things everyday that are highly disturbing, but somehow manage not to hack up a bus full of nuns. Sick people will do sick things. There have been serial killers/rapists around since there were more than one victim to be had.

    Anyway, yes, the media should have the right to publish what they want (so long as it's not libelous or slanderous - and I mean the legal definition), but here's a right too many Americans don't want to exercise (DCC- I know you're Canadian, so I'm not commenting on how it is in Canada):

    Change the channel. You don't like what someone writes? Like my post? Piss on it and move on. If people didn't buy/watch all the garbage that people are constantly complaining about, it would not be in the interest of the media to continue to sensationalize their coverage. But Americans love to have Mommy Government come along and tell people that they don't like that they can do 'X' and Mommy should punish the wayward child. Because Americans stupidly assume that their views will be the ones to triumph in the end, and will not be subject to quashing by others.

    For instance, based on DCC's description, I didn't read the article. I don't want to read it, so I don't. Simple. As far as I'm concerned, there's no need for me to read it. While I feel bad for the family having to read about it, I feel far worse for them that they lost a child. Not having to read it doesn't mean it didn't happen. But not being able to read about it, IF YOU CHOOSE TO, is a far far scarier proposition.
     
  10. CharlesJohnson

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    This is a terribly written article, as an editorial or hard news (it mentions it is an editorial). You would never see this in a major publication on the first page as it is nowhere near objective. It would have to be rewritten greatly. It is pure sensationalism. For instance it lacks pivotal details about how the crime came to be, motive, what's going on in court, any mention of the victim's family etc etc. As an editorial it makes no window into the case or the motives of the attackers, no context, no opinion. Notice that it has no fucking opinion. It's just how a girl died horribly. What use is that without specifics to anyone not following the case? That's how papers get away with gory details, by putting them into the context of the entire story. In fact I'm a little worried that an article like this would hurt the case: with that kind of gross saturation of the crime it makes it impossible for a jury to be unbiased. Which is something else a responsible journalist should take into consideration (they are out there). You might not even see this on a major publication period. Maybe on the web site.

    Honestly it will come down to the personal taste of the editor. While the news thrives on sensational stories, there is a limit. I'm still on the fence about how much reality people want in their news; it is a lengthy discussion in ethics classes still. This sounds like something that would be played on 48 Hours or some other news program. In print, it will come up during the trial in clinical detail attached in a proper story.

    Most journalists walk a fine line between morally right and what is printable. Let me ask you a question. Does this mean the details of the Khmer Rouge, the gulag, or the concentration camps shouldn't be printed? I'm of the mind, everything should be recorded. Nuremburg was recorded so well for a reason. It isn't fair to mention mass genocides and compare it to a single incident. Though my point is, we either record everything, or leave it only for a select few. So yes, we give out the details. It is a duty. It is completely necessary.

    Should that little girl have gone through everything only for the details of her crime to be sealed in a manilla folder and buried in the archives? No. She should stand as a testament that people like this exist and those people will not be tolerated. Most of the people disagreeing here seem to be parents. They don't want their child humiliated as a spectacle. Only an obtuse fool would think this is spectacle. You won't change the minds of cretin. But an objective piece of recorded history will leave an indelible mark on the mind of most people. If anything, this girl won't be forgotten because of those gruesome details.
     
  11. Angel_1756

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    It is very easy to have this opinion when it isn't your story being splashed across the front page for all to read. These people lost their daughter. And they didn't just lose her, she was stolen from them, attacked, raped, and murdered in the most inconceivably brutal way imaginable. It is bad enough they had to hear the details when the media first reported the bare facts when her body was found. It is worse that they will sit through weeks or months of testimony and relive every details in the court room. It is appalling that the rest of the country knows this girl's final moments. What happened to the human decency of letting a family grieve? Of not shoving a camera in the faces of people at the funerals of their loved ones to get a photo of tears streaming down their faces?

    I'm all for publishing facts, but the media left facts at the door a long time ago. They publish garbage, sensationalism, prying eyes into private lives and they do it all to sell a paper. And they absolve themselves of the fact that they're horrible human beings by hiding under your first amendment.

    And yes, I can turn off the channel or put down the paper or boycott. But X sponsors pulling out of Rush Limbaugh's show won't stop his tirade of crap. And people are listening. And people are believing it, and they're accepting it, because we stopped thinking for ourselves a long time ago, and THAT's the problem with the first amendment. You should absolutely have the right to free speech, but we willingly and happily abandoned the ability to free thought. That's our fault as a society.

    I stand by my opinion, though, that there are too many details in what's published in these kinds of cases. Raquel Welch just recently talked about how we've become a "sex addict" culture because porn is everywhere - it's raw and graphic and (in some cases) brutal. It is everywhere you look, because there's a market for it. But somewhere along the line, we lost the ability to decide for ourselves what was erotic and arousing - we had images fed to us, we bought into them, and we believed they were our own idea.

    The thing is, we blame the media for publishing this stuff, but it's our own fault. We feed on this garbage. We want more intimate details, we want to know more, we want to be in someone else's life. Just look at all the crap "reality TV" people buy into. It's a multi-billion dollar industry, and for what? A glimpse into someone else's success, someone else's happiness, someone else's misery - so that we can feel like we're empathizing, or having compassion for someone we don't know.

    We shouldn't question why the media publishes this kind of story in this kind of detail - we need to question why we, as a society, so desperately want them to.
     
  12. Frebis

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    If you people wouldn't fucking read it, they wouldn't fucking publish it. Don't blame the media for filling your "need" to know. I don't think the government should be responsible for censoring someone just because you can't practice self control.
     
  13. Crown Royal

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    The general attitude towards it around here is outrage. Outrage of the unrelentingly grin way it is being constantly covered.

    NOBODY around hwre asked for this, they're just doing it anyway. People want to know that justice gets served. Not every single detail as to why. The freedom of the press is a right that must stand, the problem is that there is no line.
     
  14. Dcc001

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    Just a note about "We choose whether or not to read this stuff."

    In a way, no...we do not. For the last week I have been unable to log onto Google News, MSN, or any other website that has a media feed of anykind without this subject being the main page. The headlines of whatever article usually explicitly disclose what the article contains:

    "McClinty testifiyes that boyfriend raped girl in backseat twice."

    Even if I have no interest in reading it, there it is. I log on to find out this weekend's weather? Boom. Want to read if 21 Jump Street is as bad as I think it is? Here you go again. Same with standing at the checkout buying lunch at Safeway or Sobey's. You cannot escape this stuff...it is so prevalent that before you have a chance to look away, you already know what the headline said.

    If it was my girl, two things would happen (I hope):
    - I would implore the Crown to keep the publication ban
    - I would find a way to kill them both
     
  15. The Village Idiot

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    It's not the First Amendment's fault that people choose to believe the 'wrong' things. Of course, 'wrong' is quite a moving target. The First Amendment is there to guarantee that people can say what they want. You don't have to agree with it, you don't have to like it, you don't have to listen to it. But tread lightly when you start thinking that speech is the problem - lest someone comes along and thinks YOUR speech is a problem.

    The last part of yours I quoted is correct, in my opinion. Stop blaming the media for printing the truth (as far as I know, the article was an accurate description of the crime and not libel) about something you find distasteful/upsetting - focus on why people feel the need to read it and know such details when they have no impact on their life.
     
  16. Frebis

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    And I'm willing to bet that through all the outrage they still continued to read it all and soak it up.

    If there was a line there wouldn't be a freedom of press. They should be able to publish whatever they want. All day every day. If they lose advertising dollars because people won't read it, then they learn their lesson.

    We've had discussions about how many people here love to read up on serial killers, and get all the gory details. How many times have you watched one of those crappy documentaries on a network about a horrific crime? I'm sure you've done it. The difference here is that it hits close to home. People love this stuff. The mind is truly sick.
     
  17. mad5427

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    That's the worst thing I've read in a long time. I should not have read that. I'm leaving here in a few minutes to go run over to my daycare to spend lunch hour with my little girl. Shit.

    Full disclosure should not happen. Ignorance is bliss in regards to most things that we don't need to know. I know war is fucked up. I don't need to know every detail. There are brave individuals who are living it and sacrificing a part of their sanity to keep my freedoms. I know this. I don't need to know every detail, every hour of the day on what goes on.

    Crimes like in the original post. None of us need that detail. Now it's also my fault for reading it as I could have just left it along, but I shouldn't have to make that choice. It was prefaced with a disclaimer but most won't even blink at that. The article should have just talked about the women pleading guilty and now testifying against the other. Minor details that won't make people feel like shit. Leave the other details for the people who need to know this info, the judge, jury, lawyers, the accused and maybe....maybe family. Only if they truly needed some of that info for closure, etc. 99% of the time I'd say keep it from them too.

    Need to know. Most of us for many things don't need to know. Keep classified or unnecessary info secret. No SEALS should ever say a word about anything. Not even retired ones speculating about Bin Ladin's death, training for those types of exercises, etc. should be talking. A friend of mine who is in my local Masonic lodge was a SEAL member. We're not 100% sure, but by his very few stories, a couple of us believe he might have been Team Six. Hell, this dude won't even talk to his closest friends about a damn thing. That's the way it should be. We knew he did what he needed to for us. Good enough. The media should take this approach to a lot of topics.
     
  18. Frebis

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    And this my fellow TiB members is why drugs will never be made legal. He knew he shouldn't, but he did anyway just because someone wasn't preventing him from doing so.

    Is the only thing keeping you from being addicted to meth the legality issue?
     
  19. mad5427

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    That's ridiculous. The legality has nothing to do with it. People want to read articles that have the story in it. They want to know that a trial is happening. Most people do not want the horrible excessive details. Maybe I'm wrong and the problem is with society today and most people want that level of detail.

    I did make the choice to read it but part of it was to see the extent of the detail so I could comment in this thread. I don't like reading that level of detail but I do like reading stories both good and bad about what's happening out there. I know that the first amendment protects peoples rights to create articles like this, it still doesn't make it right. They could have given just as much necessary info without going into the level of detail.

    Also, I'm not addicted to nor take meth or any other hard drug because I've only seen them destroy people's lives. Nothing to do with legality. I've always supported legalization of Marijuana due to reading well written articles and arguments that supported the idea.

    What can and can't be printed also should not be government regulated. I just wish society and the media in general had the decency to leave out the horrible and graphic info that's not necessary. Leave that info to the court records and places where the details are necessary.
     
  20. Kubla Kahn

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    I read a decent article about the media and guilt in the court of public opinion, rush to judgement, etc. They were talking about this Rutger's student's trial for taping his gay roommate and how the prosecutor basically was forced to file heavier charges because of the media along with vocal advocacy groups had started applying huge amounts of pressure by sensationalizing the whole thing. The same thing that happened with the Casey Anthony trial, Duke Lacrosse, etc. No matter your opinion of any case it seems to be usurping the right of individuals to receive a fair trial. It's disturbing and should be debated but I'm not really sure yet how it even could be handled without trampling on the 1st Amendment.