The New York Times has been touting a study purporting to show that 4 percent of death row inmates have been "falsely convicted." "Falsely convicted" is not "innocent." But after being processed through the lawyer-to-journalist telephone game, "insignificant procedural errors" quickly becomes "27 guys didn't do it!"
What the study actually shows is that those sentenced to death are more likely to have their convictions overturned than those sentenced to prison.
Update: Full transcript added.
During the weekly "Today's Professionals" panel discussion in the 9 a.m. ET hour of Thursday's NBC "Today," while on the subject of the execution of Troy Davis, attorney Star Jones used the opportunity to proclaim: "You're never going to see a rich, white man being put to death in the United States of America. That's not going to happen right now." [Audio available here]
The outburst was prompted when co-host and panel moderator Savannah Guthrie wondered: "Some people....think the system is rigged against the poor in our society, against African-Americans in particular, and I wonder what your view is of that?"
View video after the jump
Good Morning America's Steve Osunsami on Thursday skipped or spun key facts while reporting on the execution of convicted cop killer Troy Davis in Georgia. The ABC reporter also played up the race angle, asserting that "supporters are asking difficult questions about the legal system, whether Davis' case would have gotten a greater re-examination if he were white and not black." However, he ignored the execution of a white man in Texas-- on the same day.
In that state, white supremacist Russell Brewer was put to death for the brutal murder of James Byrd. Osunsami left out other details in the Davis case. He noted that the "murder weapon was never found." However, the journalist didn't mention that Davis' gun had been used in another crime on the same day of the shooting and that the cartridges match.
Late last night, Georgia executed inmate Troy Davis for the murder of Mark McPhail in 1989. MacPhail, who was working as a security guard at the time, rushed to help a homeless man who prosecutors said Davis was hitting with a gun. When MacPhail came to the homeless man's aid, Davis shot MacPhail to death.
Davis's case sparked controversy around the world, with many declaring Davis was innocent due to the lack of strong physical evidence, despite a number of eyewitness testimonies. Davis's execution has previously been stopped three times since 2007, but he ran out of legal options yesterday when the pardons board and the Supreme Court both rejected his offer to take a polygraph test. Do you think the media covered the execution of Troy Davis fairly? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Update: Full transcript added below.
Discussing the execution of convicted cop-killer Troy Davis on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer asked left-wing activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton if he was "surprised" by most Americans supporting the death penalty. Sharpton declared: "When I'm watching Republican debates and see people cheering...that 234 people were killed in Texas under Governor Perry, it doesn't surprise me." [Audio available here]
Sharpton went on to argue that the United States was guilty of violating human rights: "How do you think we look to the world when a man with this kind of doubt was executed by the state last night and we're lecturing them on human rights?"
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For decades, liberals tried persuading Americans to abolish the death penalty, using their usual argument: hysterical sobbing.
Only when the media began lying about innocent people being executed did support for the death penalty begin to waver, falling from 80 percent to about 60 percent in a little more than a decade. (Silver lining: That's still more Americans than believe in man-made global warming.)
Fifty-nine percent of Americans now believe that an innocent man has been executed in the last five years. There is more credible evidence that space aliens have walked among us than that an innocent person has been executed in this country in the past 60 years, much less the past five years.
Like many Americans, actor Alec Baldwin took to his Twitter account Wednesday evening to express his feelings about the execution of Georgia cop killer Troy Davis.
Rather strangely, the objects of his derision included former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and conservative author Michelle Malkin: