Thursday, September 30, 2004

Perp Walk

The latest issue of the American Spectator has an article on the "perp walk." Surprise number one-- it is opposed to the practice. Surprise number two, it is written by Judge David Sentelle-- one of the favorite liberal boogie men during the Clinton investigations.

The perp walk would be bad enough if the humiliation of the accused were the only intended or accomplished result. however, the walk, commonly conducted at such time as to achieve maximum media exposure, is displayed not just for family and neighbors of the accused, but for every potential juror who sees the front page of the newspaper or the beginning of the evening news.

The camera-ready perp-walk puts the lie to the sanctimonious posturing of the MSM that their privileges are a necessary counter-weight to governmental power and serve to protect the rights of citizens. When it suits their interests, reporters and editors will sacrifice the "presumed innocent" thing and do the work of the DA/police if it gets them a good picture.

The same thing happens with leaks. "Sources close to the investigation" usually means prosecutors or detectives. In their quest for an "exclusive" reporters will let them taint a jury pool with information that may or may not stand up in court. That hardly counts as standing up for the little guy against the power of government.

Instead of complaining about pajama-wearing ankle-biters, reporters like Steve Levy might want to explain why the MSM was largely silent when prosecutors foisted the "satanic ritual child abuse" scare on the public and sent innocent people to jail. Or why the checks and balances of the MSM and the professional ethics of journalists allowed some outlets to actually incite the hysteria. Or, finally, why it was the discreditable right-wing Wall Street Journal op-ed page that gave Dorothy Rabinowitz a platform to blow the whistle on the witch-hunt.

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