Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We All Deserve Privacy

Have you ever watched the news on TV and seen one of those situations where a reporter puts a microphone in the face of a victim? It usually happens after some horrible crime either at the scene when emotions are most raw or outside of a courthouse when the reporter asks some ridiculous question like How do you feel about your mother, brother, sister, father being beaten, stabbed, killed, run over?

When I see that I usually think What a ghoul that reporter must be or Why does the family even respond. Then I think, The reporter is just doing her job, she's there to get people to watch her station/read her newspaper or The poor family, they are trapped and feel they have to answer.

I found out yesterday that neither has to happen. Two years ago a very high-profile murder happened locally. A young man killed both of his parents and disposed of their bludgeoned bodies on their property. They were not discovered for two weeks. Very gruesome.

Although the story was covered by the local media when it happened, it was interesting that there were no interviews with the immediate family. There was an extensive newspaper article but it was written from only the details of the police reports. There were interviews with former neighbors but nothing from the family, a large and local one.

Two days ago, almost two years after the murders of his parents, the son was finally brought to trial. On the first day there were no media present in the courtroom.

On the second day, which was supposed to involve jury selection, there was a large contingent of reporters from newspapers and television, videographers and photographers. In the spectators' section of the courtroom sat twenty members of the couple's family, filling up more than half of the benches. It appeared that the media had been placed in a position which made photographing or videoing the family difficult. The click and whir of the cameras was audible but they were all pointed at the lawyers and defendant, not the family.

Soon after the proceedings of the second day began, they came to an end when the defendant changed his plea of not guilty to guilty of all charges. Later it was learned that after the first day of the trial which included the viewing of one of the first taped interviews of the son after his parents were reported missing but before they were found, he decided to change his pleas to guilty and save putting himself through the ordeal of the trial.

With that change, the family was spared the ordeal as well. The trial came to an end, the murderer was escorted out and the family silently and solemnly filed out of the courtroom to an unknown location in the courthouse.

The reporters began falling all over themselves to get out of the courtroom no doubt to be the first to post their reports and be the first to get into the family's faces. Although the reporters milled around in the halls of the courthouse and stayed posted at both exits of the massive building, the family never appeared and the reporters finally gave up and left without their pictures or statements. The family's privacy would be preserved.

The story hit the airwaves immediately but with no photos or statements from the family. The public would have to be satisfied with statements on the courthouse steps from the Attorney General and head of the State Police.

On the evening news at the end of the report of the day's events, the reporter said "The family declined to be interviwed or photographed."

Bravo for them. I wish them peace.


Katherine said...

The last thing you want after something so horrible is to stand in front of the public and talk about it. I'm glad they have their privacy.

Just Breathe said...

That was a very sad story. I try to watch the news but I don't! Everytime I watch there is always that reporter putting the mic in front of the parents face or whoever. There is nothing respectful about being a reporter. I would hate that job. I will not buy into that. I'm glad the family was silent.

Badass Geek said...

At least the kid owned up to what he did and changed his plea. Still a difficult situation for sure, but... yeah.

~Kristen~ said...

I just heard about this today. So tragic and sad. I am glad the press respected the family's wish not to be interviewed or photographed.

DUTA said...

I suppose the reporters did manage to get some pictures of the family, but it was up to the editor of the news to make it public or not, and he chose not, to avoid legal complications.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Good wishes to the family.

Elle said...

Speaking from experience, I can confirm that standing in front of reporters is the absolute LAST thing one wants to do at a time like that. For our family, it was important to get in front of the media the day we found out about my sister's death, because we had to do the whole "If anyone has any information" plea. After that, they come to expect it.

I didn't want to stand in my mom's driveway, freezing cold and emotionally broken, on Christmas Eve, but people were assuming my family knew the boyfriend was the killer, so I needed to set the record straight for my family.

It's a hard decision to make, but we wanted to be as transparant as possible, and if my sister's story could help anyone or make any woman out there think about her situation and possibly save a life, then we needed to try. It was incredible to find out a couple months later that there were women that were compelled to action by my sister's story, and my words, on the news.

croneandbearit said...

You know that I am praying for that family and am happy it ended the way it did even though the entire story is such a tragedy.

A 2 Z said...

Hi Sandy,

I have an award waiting for you on my blog! Enjoy the week-end.


mama-face said...

Interesting. I guess some people will do just about anything do be on camera. I'm sure the reporters go around looking for someone, anyone willing to say anything...They can't force you. Fortunately.

From experience with 'news' media (over nothing this horrifying or even close) I KNOW that they are NEVER accurate and edit things to their liking. Thus, I give little credence to most reporting. I have to remind myself of this sometimes.

I wonder if some of the news people are cringing really as much as we are; they are just trying to move up, or not get fired...blah blah. Maybe some of them like the rush of adrenaline?

ah...sorry to write a post about your post. I'm so sorry for that family.


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