Breeched Wales Bloviating in the Hot Sun

Location: Long Island, New York, United States

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Deceptive headlines at CNN

Don't read it yet but here is a story at CNN titled "Journalist set free after nearly 44 years". It begins ...

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana (AP) -- In the nation's bloodiest prison, Wilbert Rideau became a thinking man, an award-winning journalist who has been called "the most rehabilitated inmate in America." Now, after more than 40 years behind bars, he is a free man.

Rideau, convicted three times by all-white juries, walked free Saturday when a racially mixed jury found him guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter

At that point the reader might still be harboring some notion that his jailing had something to do with him being a journalist. It all depends on how you parse the first sentence. Did he becom a thinking man in jail, or did he become a thinking man and a journalist. These two do not neccessarily coincide. So if he didn't become a journalist in jail then was he one to start with. The headline certainly leads the reader in this direction.
"It offers hope to the black community. It's a new day," said the Rev. J.L. Franklin of Lake Charles, who has led a minister's group that has pushed for years for Rideau's release.

Presumably "a new day" where blacks aren't locked up for being journalists.
Rideau, 62, never denied that he killed Julia Ferguson on February 16, 1961, and shot two others after a botched robbery. Testifying for the first time in this trial, he said it was an act of panic.

Wow, did he accidentally shoot some people while reporting on a robbery? Forty four years for self-defense?
The jury of seven whites and five blacks deliberated for nearly six hours before reaching its decision.

Implying what? The first three all white juries took a few minutes.

Wait a second now. Three juries? Wouldn't that imply that two of the all white juries had deadlocked? Somethings fishy. It is only after reading the following that the facts become clear.
Rideau, who is black, was a janitor and eighth-grade dropout when he entered the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. Behind bars, he became a self-educated writer and helped expose the violence behind prison walls, elevating the prison magazine, The Angolite, to national acclaim.

Wait a second, he's no journalist and he wasn't a journalist at the time of the robbery. He was a thief. Those people weren't shot ... they were murdered. He works on a prison paper. Does that really qualify one as a journalist?

So this is not a case of whites locking up blacks for being award winning journalists. It is not about "a new day". It's about one jury second guessing another forty four years distant from the facts.

The story ends with the remarks of the defendants lawyer, ""He did a terrible thing, but it wasn't murder.". I guess that's where CNN wants to leave off.

Yeah, sure!

Ran into a post over at Firewolf that echo's my own. He did a much better job of researching additional details. I had assumed there were retrials of some sort and he actually bothered to find out the details. Check it out.