SEE UPDATE BELOW. Obviously we want the media to publicize Amber Alerts and report on murders. But there seems to be a disconnect between the media’s tendency to tout its own policies on not reporting certain details of crimes and its tendency to run for days with details of other crimes. What has happened in Tracy is completely devastating. When a story starts its life as an Amber Alert, but ends up being a story about a grisly murder, shouldn’t the media not want to have the victim’s face and name and the unspeakable details about what happened to her plastered all over the front page and sold as the top story?
Media generally don’t report the names of underage victims of certain crimes. The most often quoted policy behind not releasing the names of underage victims of sexual crimes is that it is due to the “stigma attached to that type of crime.” Obviously they should refrain principally because it would be improper and unnecessary, not only because their viewers/readers are too judgey. I don’t know if there is anything worse than the murder of a child. Shouldn’t the news coverage of such a story fall under some sort of similar policy? Once the story has reached its tragic conclusion, wouldn’t the public interest be appropriately served by a media that does its duty and then retreats so the family can heal in peace?
UPDATED 4/13 3:00 PM: Warning: If you’re having a good day so far and you want to continue having a good day, move along. But since I saw the headlines already, my day’s already ruined. Everything I said above is out the window and the gloves are off. I do not understand how any publication can claim to not report the names of underage victims of sexual crimes when they clearly have not a shred of decency on this subject. I don’t understand how they can be comfortable backing themselves into this corner. This poor family.