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CNN Freddie Gray Report “Made A Serious Effort To…Get It Right”–Critic

A CNN-Baltimore Sun special report “Who Killed Freddie Gray?” doesn't deliver on the promise of the title, but that’s one of the few criticisms of the broadcast to be aired tonight starting at 9 Eastern time from Sun TV critic David Zurawik. He notes that there are still six trials ahead aimed at determining culpability or innocence of the officers involved in the arrest and transport of Gray on April 12, 2015. The 25-year-old Baltimore resident died one week later […]

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“Making A Murderer” Makers Say Issue Is Justice, Not Avery’s Guilt

The filmmakers behind Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary expected a backlash that would lead people in the media to demonize Steven Avery, the Wisconsin man whose prosecution in the 2005 death of a woman formed the centerpiece of the 10-part series, the Associated Press reports. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, at a news conference yesterday, sought to deflect discussion on the question of Avery’s guilt or innocence and instead pointed to questions raised about the criminal justice system in their […]

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“Huge Mistake” For Rolling Stone To Let Guzman Approve Story: Ethics Expert

It was a “huge mistake” for Rolling Stone to let Mexican drug lord “El Chapo” Guzman approve the story by Sean Penn on his interview with Guzman, ethics expert Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute tells CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” Says McBride: “A controversial figure like El Chapo, you can let him know what his quotes are. You can let him do an accuracy check on the story and you can address his concerns that way, but you don’t need to […]

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Penn Interview With Guzman Tipped Off Police; Extradition Could Take Years

The recapture of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman took a Hollywood twist when a Mexican official said security forces at one point located the world’s most-wanted trafficker thanks to a secret interview with actor Sean Penn, the Associated Press reports. Penn’s interview with Guzman, who has twice escaped from Mexican maximum security prisons, appeared on the website of Rolling Stone magazine. It was held at an undisclosed hideout in northern Mexico in October, about two months before Guzman’s recapture […]

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Media Group Seeks Documents, More Transparency In Baltimore Police Cases

A coalition of Baltimore and national media outlets has intervened in court to call for broader transparency and increased access to legal documents in the prosecution of the Baltimore police officers in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, reports the Baltimore Sun. The group yesterday asked for access to sealed documents, trial transcripts, evidence, and future moments during trials when jurors leave the courtroom to view evidence. It also asked the court to refrain from admonishing jurors not to […]

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Is Netflix Murder Documentary Blurring The Entertainment-Justice Line?

A Netflix documentary called “Making a Murderer” is blurring the line between entertainment and justice, says the Christian Science Monitor. Nearly 180,000 people have signed an online petition calling on President Obama to pardon Steven Avery, a 53-year-old Wisconsin outcast whom many believe was wrongfully convicted of the murder of a freelance photographer. Obama can’t issue such a pardon because the case is not a federal one. The petition’s author, Michael Seyedian of Colorado, was inspired to act after watching […]

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Armed Men Occupy OR Federal Building; Media Divided Over What To Call Them

Militiamen? Activists? Terrorists? After the seizure of a federal wildlife management building in eastern Oregon by armed protesters on Saturday, the media have struggled with how to refer to the people involved, says the Washington Post. Descriptions have included “self-styled militiamen” (Reuters), “armed activists” (New York Times) and “armed protesters” (Washington Post), and other variations. Media attempts to find a neutral formulation were in stark contrast with the partisan fray on social media, where supporters and detractors of the protesters […]

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Wilmington Leaders Protest ABC Plans For “Murder Town” Series

Wilmington, De., civic leaders have consistently decried violence in the city, but their voices have been more strident lately, thanks to the controversial plans of Baltimore-bred actress Jada Pinkett Smith, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. ABC has laid the groundwork for “Murder Town,” a new drama produced by and starring Smith as the city’s first African-American district attorney. (Wilmington actually has no D.A.; the city is under the purview of the state’s attorney general.) Last month, 20 religious leaders held […]

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How New York Times Erred On CA Terrorist’s Social Media Messages

The New York Times wrongly reported that Tashfeen Malik, who with her husband killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Ca., “talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad.” Times public editor Margaret Sullivan quotes Executive Editor Dean Baquet as saying that the Times’ sources “apparently did not know the difference between public and private messages on social-media platforms.” In other words, Malik made her statements in private emails that would not have been accessible to U.S. investigators […]

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TCR'S Person of the Year: John Oliver

Can a talk-show host drive meaningful social change? In the post-Letterman, post-Leno era, just asking the question reveals the intriguing new forces at work in today's media landscape. It wasn't too long ago that “serious” discussion of national issues was confined to Op Ed pages and the “talking heads” of Sunday news shows. Talk-show personalities like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher were among the first to exploit widespread dissatisfaction with the orthodox daily-news formulas that dominated our national […]