When 'Mob Journalism' Helps Convict the Innocent


The media has won deserved credit for its role in exposing wrongful convictions. But there are many examples of compliant coverage of prosecutors and law enforcement authorities who rush to convict the innocent on flimsy or phony evidence.

In some cases, local reporters and editors willingly suspend their news judgment or succumb to community pressure to take the prosecution's side. In a study prepared for the John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America, veteran crime journalist David J. Krajicek focuses on three notorious examples—the 1949 case of Florida's “Groveland Four”; the conviction of Kirk Bloodsworth in the 1985 rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl near Baltimore; and the conviction of Walter McMillian for the 1986 murder of a clerk in Monroeville, Ala.

Krajicek, a co-founder of Criminal Justice Journalists, writes that each of the cases offers critical lessons for journalists—and the public—of the perils of “mob journalism” and media tunnel vision.

Read his report HERE.

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