Fresh off a survey published in Legal and Criminal Psychology showing that many people show “contemptuous prejudice” toward the wrongly convicted, Direct TV is running a commercial that could make perceptions even worse.
The commercial apparently first ran in 2012, but it is now back on the airwaves. It shows how a lawyer who endured the frustrations of relying on cable TV failed to do his job, leading to his client’s wrongful conviction. It then shows the wrongly convicted man in prison longing for the day he can have his revenge on the attorney. The final scene shows the lawyer’s house blowing up as he arrives home one day.
The intended message is that cable TV is bad for you and that you should get Direct TV. But another message is that the wrongly convicted are angry and dangerous people when they are released. This is exactly the wrong kind of message those struggling to overcome a wrongful conviction need.