Monday, May 01, 2006

Duke rape case -- be patient

Two weeks ago, I suggested patience with the Duke rape case:
What's up with cable news producers appointing themselves judge and jury with any legal case that strikes their fancy? The indictment's been issued, the accused will have their day in court, justice will be done. I've heard this incident kicked back and forth since Day One, as if it involved a matter of profound national importance. Wrong. It's a local cops-and-courts story, and if it wasn't for the race angle, the TV talkers wouldn't even notice.
Cases like this represent an irresistible temptation to TV sensationalists in the 24/7 news era, and sometimes this temptation can lead to an entire community being besmirched as "racist" -- or worse, as I warned:
TV producers won't be happy until we're watching live coverage of the Great Raleigh Race Riot of 2006. Guess that would be more interesting than Katie's colonoscopy ...
(An e-mailer points out that Duke is in Durham, not Raleigh. Yes, but the alliteration makes it better the other way, and who knows where the riot may erupt?)

But the TV producers didn't heed the warning and managed to attract to the scene, like a moth to the Klieg lights, Malik Zulu Shabazz. Dan Riehl says:

The pathetic excuse for a human being Shabazz was on Fox tonight and made some very troubling statements. He refused to acknowledge that his racist group sought only non-violence at Duke and suggested that those linked to the old racist institution should be afraid. He would also not acknowledge that they would not bring weapons. ...

What dangerous rhetoric from this buffoon. There should be a zero tolerance policy for idiots like Shabazz and his race baiting, terrorist group.

Folks, this constant cable-TV hype can lead to nothing good. As I stated earlier, the Duke case is in the hands of competent legal authorities, and we have every reason to believe that justice will be done. Whether you're black or white, liberal or conservative, please be patient and let the justice system do its job.

However much it may boost ratings to schedule prime-time shouting matches about a criminal case involving sex and race, TV producers who are hyping this ugly incident into a national obsession will not escape blame if their irresponsible sensationalism helps provoke violent conflict in North Carolina.

-- McCAIN

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