Media Nation is not going to link to every example of media handwringing that’s online following the decision by Colorado authorities to drop the case against John Karr in the JonBenet Ramsey murder.
But here are two, just to give you a flavor.
Howard Kurtz begins his washingtonpost.com blog today with this:
Will every anchor, correspondent and producer who shamelessly hyped the John Mark Karr story now apologize for taking the country for a ride?
Don’t hold your breath.
This was such a sham, from the opening moments, that it instantly goes down with the greatest media embarrassments in modern history.
And, over at the Huffington Post, Bob Geiger writes:
There should be a lot of very red faces in newsrooms all over the United States right about now — there should be, but I doubt there will be….
What is amazing to me is the media circus that has followed this “case” for almost two weeks now without really a shred of proof that anything had truly developed in the 10-year-old mystery.
I’m not going to defend the media’s endless coverage of a private, decade-old tragedy. For more on that, I recommend this Boston Phoenix editorial as well as Scot Lehigh’s column in the Boston Globe last Friday. As the invaluable Andrew Tyndall notes, even the three nightly network newscasts, supposedly a bastion of sobriety compared to the morning shows and the wretched cable stations, wallowed in JonBenetmania.
But I do think one small corrective is in order. The media did not arrest Karr in Thailand and fly him back to the United States. The media did not wine and dine Karr while airborne in an attempt to get him to talk. The media did not publicly state that Karr was the killer.
It was law-enforcement officials in Colorado who did all that, and it is they who bear most of the blame for this fiasco.
And I would note that most responsible media accounts have made it clear from the first or second day that the case against Karr was shaky at best.
Yes the quantity of coverage has been ludicrous. But the quality? Not so bad.