Jewish World Review Nov. 8, 2002 / 3 Kislev, 5763
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Here is a story of two trials and how they were covered in the news. Or not covered. You tell me what it says about the media's twisted values.
The first trial was held in Beverly Hills. The accused was Hollywood starlet Winona Ryder, charged with shoplifting at a Sak's Fifth Avenue store. A Nexis search turned up more than 500 stories on the trial published over the past week alone. Television, news, and radio reporters from around the world breathlessly described Ryder's daily court attire-her hairbands, her coatdresses, her shoes, her bra straps, her lipstick.
We learned the all-important details of how she appeared "pale" one day, "chipper" the next. Crack news reporters informed us that she is "doe-eyed" and "petite." Talking heads endlessly scrutinized the trial evidence, tapes, and testimony. Psychologists explained the motivations of kleptomaniacs. Entertainment insiders parsed Ryder's film career for clues.
On Wednesday, the cable shows provided "breaking news" coverage of the guilty verdicts and wall-to-wall analysis of What This Means For Winona. The New York Times and Washington Post followed up with bylined news articles.
This, you see, was news that mattered. News fit to print.
Meanwhile, in unglamorous Wichita, Kansas, the eight-week trial of Jonathan and Reginald Carr came to a close. The brothers were found guilty of four counts of capital murder, along with numerous charges of rape, aggravated robbery, burglary, and theft, committed during an unspeakably brutal killing spree in December 2000.
The perpetrators were black. The victims-including friends Jason Befort, Heather Muller, Bradley Heyka and Aaron Sander-were white. The Carrs were convicted of murdering these four young people, execution-style, on a frozen soccer field after a night of terror in Befort, Heyka, and Sander's townhouse. After breaking into the residence, the Carrs forced Muller and Jason Befort's unnamed fiancÚ to perform sexual acts on each other; the men were then forced to participate. Next, the Carrs raped the women, drove all five victims to an ATM machine, forced them to withdraw money from their accounts, and headed to the soccer field.
The five victims were forced to kneel in the snow and beg for their lives before sustaining gunshots to the head. The Carrs then ran over their victims with their truck. Befort's fiancÚ miraculously survived. She walked more than a mile, bleeding and naked, in the snow, before finding help.
When such senseless, evil savagery takes place against politically correct victims, the mainstream media is quick to make national news of such crimes. "If this had been two white males accused of killing four black individuals, the media would be on a feeding frenzy and every satellite news organization would be in Wichita doing live reports," wrote Trent Hungate of Wichita in a letter to the Wichita Eagle after the killings two years ago. Indeed. The horrific James Byrd dragging case in Texas and the Matthew Shepherd murder in Wyoming, for example, garnered front-page headlines and continuous coverage.
But with the exception of local Kansas newspapers, the Associated Press, the Washington Times, Fox News, Court TV, and conservative Internet sites, the Carr trial made almost no news.
If you read the New York Times or the Washington Post or watched the evening news this week, the Wichita Massacre never happened. Not to worry, though. The latest investigative report on where Winona Ryder got that Hermes handbag is coming up next. Stay tuned.
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JWR contributor Michelle Malkin is the author of, most recently, "Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores". To comment, please click here.