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Monday, April 13, 2020

Attack Journalism in the Era of Fake News

Decency and justice requires that before the accusation of a serious crime of moral turpitude is made public by the authorities or the media, there must be, at the very least, enough evidence to support an arrest of the accused. This is particularly true if the accused is a public person of excellent reputation whose career depends on his or her high character. This also applies if, due to the passage of time and vagueness of the accusation, it is extremely difficult for the accused to establish his or her innocence. Just because an accused is presumed innocent in law does not mean that person will be presumed innocent by the public at large. Shame on any politician or journalist who intentionally violates this basic tenet of human decency. Stirring up public anger and resentment through unproven crime accusation puts everyone at the mercy of an angry, politically motivated mob. This has happened in the McCarthy era, the McMartin Preschool Child Abuse Case, the Memphis Three Murder Case, and the JonBonet Ramsey Case. And as politics in America has degenerated into what Vincent Foster once called "blood sport," and objective journalism has been replaced by fake news, the unfounded accusation has become the politician's weapon of choice.

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