August 23, 2013

BLOG: National media distorting real issues in Duncan tragedy

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star


So I was putting the final touches on the weekend edition of the paper while listening to CNN, when my blood pressure began to sky rocket. 

Literally minutes after the Stephens County District Attorney - and our district attorney for that matter - Jason Hicks sent out a release detailing why the murder of Australian baseball player Chris Lane was not a hate crime, but old CNN decided that wasn't good for ratings. 

Erin Burnett essentially ignored Hicks' comments while interviewing Duncan's mayor - not really a source necessary for this story, but hey, ratings - dragged the poor fellow into an interview about race relations. When that fizzled out, she moved on to the issue of gang violence in Duncan. 

Here's my issue: I hear on a daily basis how the media ignores the truth and sensationalizes the facts. Typically I scoff at such comments and go about my day. The media will always be criticized, but tonight, CNN was more than worthy of that criticism. 

Not only did they ignore Hicks' comments, not only did they push the issue of race, not only did they bring gangs into the picture, but they assembled a panel of "legal experts" to discuss these issues. 

Well, since CNN with all their resources and power seems to be truly more interested in ratings and good TV than the news, allow me to clear a few things up. First, there is no evidence to date that shows this tragedy was racially motivated, which Hicks stated. Second, there is no evidence of gangs in Duncan, which Hicks stated yesterday. Lastly, two of these kids are getting saddled with murder one charges in what appears to be a very strong case. The other has been hit with facilitating the discharge of a firearm and accessory after the fact to murder, which are potentially punishable by life. 

The point is, justice is being done. The police and the prosecution are doing their jobs. Stoking fires of racism and gang violence is not only pointless, it's deplorable. 

Grow up CNN, and do your damn jobs. Disseminate the news. Don't create it.