Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Media whoring from years past...

60 Minutes II just did a rerun of a piece done last fall on Richard Jewell, the Atlanta Olympics security officer that was a real hero in getting several hundred people out of Centennial Park when he found something suspicious that turned out to be a bomb. He then got publicly fingered as a suspect in that same bombing, even though he was rightly cleared of any suspicion later. The headline in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution announcing that he was a suspect was a prime example of Media Whoredom. It blared in huge type, "FBI suspects 'hero' guard may have planted bomb." (The scare quotes around 'hero' were theirs.) With that headline, Jewell was already judged guilty in the media when the Louis Freeh-run FBI leaked the story. The obligatory Media Whore feeding frenzy followed, with the press and FBI following Jewell everywhere. Eventually the story went away very quietly when Jewell was dropped as a suspect, because, well, HE WASN'T A F$#@ING TERRORIST (and still isn't). No apologies, no nothing from the FBI. Just stories buried far in the back of the papers, a pattern the media whores still repeat today.

Most of the story (they got big gun Mike Wallace for the interview) centered around what has been the effect on Jewell's life 5+ years later. Thanks to the MW (media whore, not Mike Wallace) feeding frenzy, Jewell still gets pointed at by people as the Olympic Bomber.He still has to deal wih the J-C, whose irresponsible whoring got Jewell in this mess in the first place. It was a lesson that media whoring has real consequences, a lesson that the media really has no desire to learn.

Since this was a rerun from some time back, there were other things that have happened where one can look back and ask, "What if?" As in, "What if George W. Bush designated Richard Jewell as an enemy combatant? What if Ashcroft's Justice Department had gotten their filthy mitts on Jewell and used the USA PATRIOT Act against him?" These are questions with some frightening answers, thanks to the sheep Congress' passing the FBI/CIA/NSA wish list with nary a word of debate. It's too bad Mike Wallace didn't ask those questions when he did this story originally. It's really too bad that he didn't think of mentioning the USA PATRIOT Act in his little update segment at the end.

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