Media Don’t Need To Presume Innocence, Abrams Argues


NBC News legal analyst Dan Abrams is “tired” of the presumption of innocence. “I don’t presume that Bernie Madoff is innocent,” he writes in the Wall Street Journal. “The same goes for toddler Caylee Anthony’s mom Casey, or for any of the alleged mobsters on trial in New York, or most other high-profile defendants.” Abrams asks, “What about those like CNN’s Nancy Grace who seems to presume every defendant guilty? Criticize her if you like, but such behavior doesn’t mean the rest of us must feign ignorance. We can question police and prosecutors without necessarily presuming they are corrupt or misguided.”

The 2006 case of the Duke University lacrosse players accused of rape is cited as an example of how important it is to presume all defendants innocent in the media. That misses the point, Abrams argues:”Those of us who examined the evidence, even superficially, quickly realized the case was flimsy at best. The lesson there was not about presumptions but about the need to critically evaluate facts.”

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