Debate Over Media Coverage of Knoxville Murders
I don't normally do the crime beat, but this story is stirring a lot of debate in the blogosphere, particularly with conservatives.
WVLT in Knoxville reported that the defendants were in court this morning to have their trial dates set. Earlier, prosecutors dropped federal carjacking charges so they could focus on first-degree murder charges.
The reason this story is stirring so much chatter in the blogopshere is the races of the victims and the defendants. The victims were white. The defendants are black. This fact alone has greatly raised tensions in the Knoxville area, according to the WVLT report. Several white supremacist and racially focused groups have accused the media and police of covering up what they believe was a racially motivated crime and are planning to hold protests.
But conservative bloggers, such as Michelle Malkin, believe that this case shows that the mainstream media is willing to cover white-on-black crime, particularly when it fits what she calls "a useful politically correct agenda." But when the crime is black-on-white and doesn't fit any of these agendas, she says "it's not a useful crime" and so goes unreported by the MSM. Imagine, she asks, if two black people had been murdered in this way and several white people were charged. Would the media cover the story differently?
The Snopes.com Urban Legend Reference site, however, says that while many of the reported details of the couple's deaths are gruesome, some of them have been questioned. And Snopes.com notes that the media didn't hesitate to cover the O.J. Simpson trial, in which a black man was accused of killing two white people.
4:11 PM ET | 05-17-2007 | permalink