Oscar winner ‘Spotlight’celebrates hysteria and injustice, writer argues

There is a dark side to the feel-good story about Spotlight being named the best movie of year at the Oscars last night, JoAnn Wypijewski says. The Boston Globe’s investigative series of articles exposing priest pedophilia celebrated in Spotlight, she argues, fueled a moral panic that imprisoned the innocent as well as the guilty.

“By their nature, moral panics are hysterical. They jettison reason for emotion, transform accusation into proof, spur more accusation and create a climate that demands not deliberation or evidence or resistance to prejudice but mindless faith,” Wypijewski says here.

What Hollywood celebrated last night, she adds, was “the bunk of recovered memory; the Globe reporters’ failure to challenge any charlatan who embraces it; and the lure of money.”

4 responses to “Oscar winner ‘Spotlight’celebrates hysteria and injustice, writer argues

  1. Martin Yant, Your article and post is spot-on! Never do we hear mentioned the falsely accused or presumption of innocence when they launch their witch-hunts and moral panics, especially notable during the Presidential campaign cycles. Think Duke/Nifong, “Witch Hunt” documentary (the John Stoll story) and Courtney Bisbee, Maricopa County Arizona, arrested without a warrant and held NON-bondable February 11, 2004. Deja vu. No investigation. Established protocol for child abuse / sex abuse investigation ignored by the Scottsdale police and others in the Inter-agency disciplinary protocol. No Miranda Rights. No presumption of innocence or due process.

    As Courtney, an innocent woman and mother, languishes in prison, having her Habeas delayed by the state AG’s office, who filed emergency motions to get her two-day evidentiary hearing in federal court, vacated!

    Why is the state fighting to deprive Courtney, the public and the media from hearing the truth? For years, new evidence and exculpatory evidence has been known by the prosecutors – a scam for money! Why has this never been heard in an Arizona court and now the state doesn’t want it heard in a federal court?

    As a mother has been alienated from her child for 12 years and the family destroyed by the government, who should have been there to protect them? Is this justice in America “land of the free”, while all those responsible for Courtney’s wrongful conviction and wrongful imprisonment (silenced behind bars) had motive for financial or political gain?

    Wake up folks! If you think this can’t happen to you, think again! This is your justice system and the politicians who drive it and turn a blind eye to the truth.

    Who is there to protect us? Where is the presumption of innocence and due process?

  2. “Oscar Hangover Special: Why “Spotlight” Is a Terrible Film” by JoAnn Wypijewski 2/29/16 http://bit.ly/1QHYAB7
    “Since then I have followed the case of another priest: Father Gordon MacRae of New Hampshire, who does not figure in the film. He was accused, tried and convicted in 1994, a time when Spotlight would have you believe that every sexual accusation against a priest either fell on deaf ears or was handled in a hush-hush settlement, and every playground, church and rectory was a hunting ground for the great Whore of Babylon. MacRae remains imprisoned for crimes that are only slightly less heinous in description and absolutely unsupported by evidence.

    Both men were called monsters. Both men were offered plea deals by their respective prosecutors that, had they actually committed the crimes, would be an affront to justice and proportion. Shanley was offered time served – the seven months he’d been jailed while awaiting trial – plus two and a half years’ house arrest if only he’d say he was guilty of raping a child on Sunday mornings between Masses. MacRae was offered three years in prison, later reduced to two, if only he’d say he was guilty of cruelly molesting a teenager. Both men refused and went to their fates abandoned by church hierarchy.

    “Can you imagine”, Shanley said to me after his conviction in 2005, “here I am, the worst monster, a danger to children everywhere, and they offer me time served? … But for refusing to lie, I got twelve to fifteen years.”

    • Sounds familiar. Courtney Bisbee was facing 54 – 90 years for the stacked charges, “dangerous crimes against children”, labelled ‘high-profile”, with two class 2 felony counts. On the eve of the trial she was offered a probation eligible plea. But to dare to go to trial, they were going to give her a “million” years to set an example for the others.

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