By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Murder suspect charged — and named

Police in Connecticut this morning finally charged Raymond Clark in connection with the murder of Yale University student Annie Le. And with that, the New Haven Independent — which had refused to identify Clark when he was merely a “person of interest” — has named him and posted a photo.

Earlier: “Ethics, competition and a high-profile murder.”

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  1. mike_b1

    This case is instructive for two reasons. One, as you have noted, the New Haven Independent’s decision to withhold the name of the suspect prior to his being charged. The other, and perhaps more pressing, is why the national press has picked up this particular murder story — it is the lead article on the websites of the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times, for example, despite their being no ties by the victim or her alleged murderer to that area — when there are so many others to chose from. Chicago alone averages 18 murders a week, and LA averages 7. If a striking female at an elite university thousands of miles away gets killed, that’s headline stuff. But when a black guy kills another black guy, it’s buried — no pun intended — in Metro. And that’s if it is mentioned at all.

  2. O-FISH-L

    Will miracles never cease? Mr. b1, I agree with you on both points.

    In the wake of Richard Jewell, Willie Bennet et al., it’s good to see the media showing some restraint. I will say I was a little taken aback when the Independent editor said yesterday that the policy would be different if the person of interest was a public figure. Why? I realize Times v. Sullivan allows the media open season on public figures, but just because the journalists can, doesn’t mean they should.

    As for the strange urge of the national media to pick up this story, I too was surprised when the NYTimes Breaking News email service sent me the info on the arrest. I guess that due to the proximity, it’s slightly more acceptable for the NYT to cover a CT story than say the ChiTrib or the LA Times, but still. There does indeed seem to be a double standard depending on who/what the victim is.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Fish: The Times does cover Connecticut as local news, and has been running the Annie Le story in its New York section.

      I don’t think there has been any restraint shown by the media with the exception of the Independent. If anything, quite the opposite.

  3. There is without a doubt a double standard in this country when it comes to murder coverage.

    If you are white, affluent and from an ivy college – it will be national news. If you are brown, poor and didn’t graduate high school – expect a paragraph in your local metro daily.

    I don’t see much restraint at all. NPR is covering this on All Things Considered with sidebar stories on security at university labs.

    The silly talk about us now being a color-blind country is put to rest when stories like this surface.

  4. Dunwich

    “If you are white, affluent and from an ivy college – it will be national news”
    This is surprising to you? The Lindbergh baby’s murder was arguably the biggest story in US history. Sensationalized murder is news, but it’s also entertainment.

    • Dan Kennedy

      I’m waiting for someone to point out that Annie Le was not white.

  5. Dunwich

    ” Annie Le was not white.”
    Yes but that’s obviated by the advanced degrees and her marriage story.
    The morning news shows love a young women-in-peril story.

    Prediction: The suspect will claim he was assaulted (scratched?) protected himself and due to her fragility, she died.

  6. O-FISH-L

    By “media showing some restraint” I meant the Independent for not naming the suspect until he was charged.

    As for the NYT covering CT as local news, fine. But I found it somewhat annoying to receive a NYT breaking news email on an arrest in this CT case when I’m sure there are dozens if not hundreds of murders in CT each year that the times doesn’t cover at all.

  7. mike_b1

    Dan, while George described her as “white, “I described her as “striking.”

    In any case, she certainly didn’t look like Willie Horton.

  8. I was speaking generally not specifically which was a mistake given the topic. But race and class has a lot to do with whether a murder makes national headlines.

    And no Dunwich it doesn’t surprise me at in the least. It has been going on since journalism started.

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