Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hat Tip to the Old Man

I remember several of my high school teachers encouraging me to read the newspaper, "at least once a day." I don't know if that was a nation-wide, regional or local educational strategy thing. But I remember it well. I also remember my old man's witty lampoon of that policy: "You would have to read the newspaper every day to be that stupid!" I really do have the very highest respect and admiration for great journalistic efforts, but, the longer I live, it seems the witty side of my old man's remark is increasingly outweighed by a kind of novel accuracy. (Only the people who know me best understand how difficult it was for me to write that last sentence!)

If you read the typical American newspaper this week, you got this kind of impression:

The State of Arkansas tried its best to lock away a cold-blooded, violent murderer and child molesting rapist by giving him a 100-year prison sentence. But Republican Mike Huckabee exercised his unilateral power as Governor and pardoned the man, launching him into the streets, where he promptly continued his previous campaign of rape and murder - just as any intelligent person would have guessed that he would have!

If you had time enough to cut through the poor reporting, you learned:

1. Arkansas did impose a 100+ year sentence, for crimes committed by a 16 year old.
2. Not included in the list of crimes: murder, rape.
3. A judge recommended clemency for the prisoner.
4. The original sentencing judge did not oppose the recommendation for clemency.
5. A parole board unanimously recommended clemency for the prisoner.
6. Huckabee acted upon recommendation, not unilaterally.
7. Huckabee pardoned no one.
8. Huckabee's commutation of sentence did not free anyone from prison.
9. Huckabee's commutation simply made the prisoner eligible for parole.
10. Huckabee's commutation came after the prisoner had served 11 years in prison
11. Parole was granted by a state board.
12. The state board's decision was supported by a judge.
13. Almost a decade after he was released by a parole board, the former prisoner shot and killed 4 policemen.

One would have to say there is a high price, indeed, for reading the newspapers!

1 comment:

Konstantin Doren said...

A Rising Tide Lowers All Discussions

Thanks for this site. I will be reading it to help keep myself firmly grounded in fact.

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