On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, news reader Bill Weir offered two widely different ways of describing the legal case involving the delayed execution of convicted killer Michael Morales in California. Weir’s second blurb on the story came at 8:32 AM and was attention catching:
On a slow news day, a couple Today show notes, both concerning Matt Lauer.
Two weeks ago, when the state of Virginia reported that DNA evidence underlined that executed murderer-rapist Roger Keith Coleman was actually guilty, Geoff Dickens revisited the goopy 1992 Time cover story by reporter Jill Smolowe making a passionate case for Coleman's innocence: "the courts have so far failed miserably. It is quite possible he will die, the victim of a justice system so bent on streamlining procedures and clearing dockets that the question of whether or not he actually murdered Wanda McCoy has become a subsidiary consideration."
Readers will no doubt recall the hysteria from the mainstream media and anti-death penalty forces on the left over the execution of Stanley’s "Tookie" Williams last month.
Countless articles were written bemoaning Tookie’s loss and news anchors spoke glowingly of his supposed contributions to ending gang violence. That Tookie himself was the founder of the notorious "Crips" gang, responsible for so much murder and mayhem over the years, didn’t seem to enter into the equation. Neither did the four people he murdered in cold blood.
Way back in 1992 Roger Keith Coleman was Time magazine’s cover boy against the death penalty. Time ran the following over a photo of Coleman in chains: "This Man Might Be Innocent, This Man Is Due To Die." Fast forward to 2006 and DNA tests have proved Coleman was in fact rightfully convicted of raping and killing his 19-year-old sister-in-law. So far Time hasn’t touched the story in its online edition. As this morning’s Washington Post reports the DNA test results have hit anti-death penalty advocates hard: "The results stunned and disappointed those who have fought a 25-year crusade to prove that Roger K. Coleman was innocent. They also dashed hopes among death penalty foes that the case would catalyze opposition to capital punishment across the country."
In the May 18th, 1992 edition of Time reporter Jill Smolowe wrote breathlessly about how the legal system was failing this supposed innocent man.
Pat Robertson has no one to blame but himself for the criticism he's attracted in reaction to his latest looniness, in which he suggested that Ariel Sharon's recent stroke was divine retribution for dividing the land of Israel. For that matter, on the all-publicity-is-good-publicity theory, Robertson might be reveling in the notoriety.
Shane Bishop, NBC Producer