Trial By Media

There has been an explosion of criminal allegations against prominent individuals recently reported by TV news organizations. They are associated with incidents of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. Some allegations are associated with crimes which are alleged to have occurred as long ago as 40 years. As I have stated in previous posts, todays society is radically different from the society our parents grew up in. Today there is an alarming increase in violence of all forms in our communities. The “me generation” are in full control; their philosophy being that everything is about ME and no other person’s needs, wants or concerns have any value. Even so I fully believe that a significant number of the recently publicized allegations have validity. However, it is also possible that some of them may not be valid. Allegations of criminal acts should get a proper investigation by law enforcement professionals. If sufficient evidence exists, a criminal case should proceed through the court system. Ultimately, if guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt, is established, punishment should be prescribed by the courts. Otherwise, the accused must be presumed innocent. That is how it used to work.

In todays world, the legal system seems to be presumed obsolete. Allegations reported by the news media are taken as irrefutable proof of guilt. As soon as an allegation is made public, the accused is publicly disgraced, labeled as guilty, forced out of their career, has their personal life destroyed. No investigation by law enforcement, no court case, no presumption of innocence. This all happens as a result of an allegation reported by a TV news station. As I have said before, we know that TV news organizations will report anything that sounds sensational, with little or no checking of the facts, or even the slightest attempt to make the report 100% accurate. This seems to be a result of the “real time” nature of TV news. Something happens, some reporter gets a bare minimum of facts, then adds some stock words and phrases to make it sound more sensational and attention grabbing, regardless of the facts, and the story is on air within the hour. If it is later proved that they got the facts all wrong, that is a good thing for them because it gives them a follow on story to report. Meanwhile they have already ruined someone’s life by “trial by media”.

“Trial by media” instead of “trial by judge and jury” is just one of the many signs of modern society slipping slowly down that slope from a civilized society to a lawless society where “mob rule” prevails.