Friday, February 24, 2006

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

A story that ran in todays Orlando Sentinel reminded me of a point that has been discussed many times in the past...the significant difference between the court of law and court of public opinion. Read the headline and some of the language used in the story and you'll see that this (like most journalism) was approached with a “guilty until proven innocent” framework. Compare that to our legal system's “innocent until proven guilty" and the differences will be clear. This also makes me think about the declining readership of newspapers. Maybe this “guilty until proven innocent” approach has alienated some members of their audience. Don't have any stats to back that up. Just a thought.

I also recently heard this reporter say that he sees the primary role of the media to be “to make the uncomfortable more comfortable and the comfortable more uncomfortable.” The problem with this thought process is that sometimes the comfortable are that way because they have made sound and ethical decisions. I don't know what the final outcome will be on the story referenced above, but I have doubts that this is much more than a situation that has been blown out of proportion. Time will tell.


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