Study shows how ‘mob journalism’ helps convict the innocent

“The media has won deserved credit for its role in exposing wrongful convictions,” The Crime Report says. “But there are many examples of compliant coverage of prosecutors and law enforcement authorities who rush to convict the innocent on flimsy or phony evidence.”

To prove its point, the web site has published a study by crime journalist David J. Krajicek that focuses on three examples — the 1949 case of Florida’s “Groveland Four”; the conviction of Kirk Bloodsworth in the 1985 rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl near Baltimore; and the conviction of Walter McMillian for the 1986 murder of a clerk in Monroeville, Ala.

All three cases are good examples of how the news media frequently follow — and sometimes lead — police and prosecutors down the rabbit hole of bias and tunnel vision. You can read the excellent study here.

5 responses to “Study shows how ‘mob journalism’ helps convict the innocent

  1. VERY interesting. My recent impressions have been that the media has done a pretty good job of highlighting wrongful convictions. This piece, however, grabs us by the collar, and brings us back to how the media can drive public hysteria, and bring unrelenting pressure on police and prosecutors for expedient resolution of high profile violent crimes – even though the defendant may be innocent.

  2. Excellent stuff. The media too often does play a role in these cases, and they also typically manage to escape criticism for it too, so I was glad to see this study highlighted. Another case where this happened was Ryan Ferguson’s. I linked to this in my comment to an article criticizing some journalists for being too celebratory about Ryan’s release, which I believe is a far lesser journalistic sin that the mob journalism that helped get him wrongfully imprisoned in the first place.

  3. There are many cases of wrongful convictions created by false presentation by the media. What chance does a person have who is convicted in court of public opinion especially when the jury is exposed to the daily tabloid sensationalized stories. Add to that not being able to afford a competent defense. It becomes a slam dunk for conviction. FREEPAULCORTEZ.ORG

  4. Reblogged this on Bill White Blog.

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