Is the John Mark Karr case headed for a ditch? That's hard to say -- especially for those of us who actually see avoiding a rush to judgment as a good idea, rather than a slogan to cover up, well, a rush to judgment about Karr's guilt or innocence in the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey. But less than 72 hours since the news of his arrest in Thailand broke, one thing's clear. The media isn't going to sit around waiting for justice to run its course.
Last night, the national cable news programs were at least as JonBenet-centric as the previous evening, with plenty of prominent personalities, including Fox News' Greta Van Susteren (pictured), broadcasting from Boulder. Moreover, as additional doubts have surfaced, the talking heads have been increasingly willing to take shots at Karr's credibility. Such skepticism is good for business, of course; it gives pundits the excuse to keep blabbing on the subject despite a dearth of confirmed information. Still, the contradictions encompassed in this CNN roundup actually deserve further investigation of the sort a good many reporters are conducting. If only they'd expend a similar amount of energy on other stories -- like ones having to do with a certain war with which you might be familiar.
At Boulder district attorney Mary Lacy's substance-free news conference on August 17, she said, "There is much work to be done now that the suspect is in custody. Our preference would have been to complete that work out of the public eye. That is obviously not possible this morning."
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Neither will it be possible for many mornings to come, and if Lacy didn't understand that going in, she sure as hell should have. Because the worm seems to be turning in record time. -- Michael Roberts