Sunday, February 13, 2011

Justice delayed

Ten years ago, Chandra Levy was murdered.  Congressman Gary Condit was convicted by the Press, if not by a Court of Law.  Good thing, too, since he didn't commit the murder:
Ingmar Guandique, the MS-13 gang banger who brutally killed Chandra Levy back in 2001, was sentenced to 60 years by a DC superior court today.
RTWT, as it's really about the media's unaccountability, and understandable lack of interest in accountability.  I would like to add one point, that helps explain how they handled this (as well as many other) stories.  The media doesn't care about the truth.  The media cares about the story.

They're selling fishwrap, or hemorrhoid cream, or the President's Day sale.  The stories themselves are the pretty wrapping around the adverts.  Nothing wrong with that, of course - the profit motive is not just demonstrably more effective than the alternatives, but more moral.

But they're after eyeballs.  The media feeding frenzy about Condit was because they thought this would goose their circulation, or viewership.  The truth or lack thereof was quite besides the point.

And thus the downplaying of their role in destroying a man's life, a decade ago.  If they were to actually own up to their responsibilities, and admit their blunder, this might cause people to question what they read or watch.  That might depress circulation or viewership, which means less hemorrhoid cream sold.

Remember this the next time you see the New York Times editorialize that corporations should not have First Amendment protections, but media companies like the New York Times Company are an exception because they serve a higher purpose.

1 comment:

TJIC said...

> The media doesn't care about the truth. The media cares about the story.

Really? News to me!