“Great guy” kills 8

The Washington Post printed my Letter to the Editor today about the “great guy” that killed 8 people, including 2 children:

More sympathy in a domestic violence case?

Can you imagine the story “Life after death: The strength of a mother” [Style, Jan. 20], if the writer, Neely Tucker, had described all the positive traits of Anthony Q. Kelly, who killed the mother’s 9-year-old daughter in Montgomery County?

Yet that is exactly what happens in reporting on domestic violence, where the perpetrators are known to their victims.

Just as Tucker was telling his heart-wrenching two-part saga of a stranger killing a child, staff writers Fredrick Kunkle and Josh White told the story of Christopher Bryan Speight [“A ‘regular guy,’ then something changed,” front page, Jan. 21] after eight family members and friends, including two children, were killed in rural Virginia. Their article contained more than a dozen positive descriptions of Speight. How odd, such kind words for the alleged perpetrator and so little attention to the victims.

When the media offer more sympathy for slayings committed by strangers, society places a lesser value on domestic-violence homicides. Yet killing a spouse or family member is equally as heinous as killing a stranger.

Stop anti-choice Super Bowl ad

CBS’s recent decision to air an anti-choice advertisement ad during Super Bowl XLIV was outrageous. Even worse is the network’s about face from its own policy of rejecting controversial Super Bowl ads. The Women’s Media Center, and organizations dedicated to reproductive rights, tolerance, and social justice, are urging the network to immediately cancel this ad. 

Go to:  Not Under the Bus 

“Great guy” kills 8 people

This takes the cake in the “nice guy kills family” genre. He wasn’t just a nice guy, he was a great one (don’t let the headline fool you). I wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, if it doesn’t get printed, I”ll post it here later.

A ‘regular guy,’ then something changed : Man charged in 8 Va. slayings was apparently troubled by family dispute over home 

Man is charged with murder in 8 Appomattox shootings

What is it about domestic violence reporting (or other mass killings) that makes writers find out all the positive characteristics of the perp? Some have said it is because most reporters are white males – when they write about crimes committed by other white males they have more sympathy and group affinity. Certainly, I have not seen the same sympathy written about crimes when they are committed by people of color or when the crimes involves shootings by strangers. When a guy takes his spouse’s or children’s lives, their is a patriarchal-based philosophy that those people belonged to the man – possessions – so that, in some sense, he had a right to take their lives. It is quite a different reaction from when a stranger kills a person or a family. Think about it – and notice the difference in writing when reading about these different types of crimes.

Custody catastrophes

Great article on MomLogic:

Dismantling patriarchy

Speaking of patriarchy, the Anonymums have posted this message:

Anonymums message to the Family Court and Fathers Lobby Groups

It’s fairly short so I’ll post it here:

Anonymums Message to the Family Court and Fathers Lobby Groups

// <![CDATA[
if (typeof(player) != 'undefined' && player instanceof PokkariQuicktimePlayer) {

// ]]>Hello Family Courts and father lobby groups. We have been monitoring your alliances, your views promoting pedophilia within your laws, the destruction of motherhood, the suppression of children and their mothers. We are aware of the children and women that are killed because you ordered it. We are aware of the parents who are treated like criminals because you were negligent in protecting them. We know of the lies you spout everytime the media catches a child killed by a court order. With the help of your underpaid court staff, we have been able to monitor your actions closely. We know of the innocent mothers laying in jail cells because they were against child abuse. Your malevolent actions for the sake of profit will not go unnoticed. Anonymums has decided that your organization must be destroyed. For the best interests of the children, for the good of mothers, fathers and grandparents and for the rest of the community. We shall expel you from funding and systematically dismantle your powers until your organization ceases to function. We acknowledge you as a serious opponent. Your methods, hypocrisy and exploitation will be circulated widely. You cannot hide as we are everywhere internally and externally. Like that of anonymous, we are indestructible but we are of our own origin, ideas and directions. No doubt you will attempt to suppress and distort our intentions, but the evidence we hold is beyond your power. We are above your law and adhere to human rights of which you are violating. We hold you in contempt for every life you order as cheap. The lives of women and children are not yours to own, nor control. Silence is control Control is for the unintelligent. That is why we are beyond you… We are anonymums.

Apparently, this is a take off on a group called Anonymous that used this method to expose the Scientology cult.
If anyone is unaware of what the family court and the fathers rights lobby is doing to women, you can read about it in this recent article on MomLogic:

Religion and women

Here’s Nicholas Kristof again writing about religion and women in the New York Times (with a quote below from Jimmy Carter) –

Religion and women

“Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths, creating an environment in which violations against women are justified,” former President Jimmy Carter noted in a speech last month to the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Australia.

“The belief that women are inferior human beings in the eyes of God,” Mr. Carter continued, “gives excuses to the brutal husband who beats his wife, the soldier who rapes a woman, the employer who has a lower pay scale for women employees, or parents who decide to abort a female embryo.”

And, hey, the Dalai Lama is a feminist!!!

Resolutions for 2010

Journalism resolutions for 2010

Note #2 –

Broaden diversity

Roughly 15 minutes into nearly every public future of journalism event held this year, the same thing happened. Someone, somewhere commented (or tweeted) a variation of, “Where are the women and people of color? If the future of journalism is white dudes over 50, we’re screwed.” The repeated lack of diversity at these events is an illustration of the serious disconnect that many media makers still have to their own organizations’ future.

At a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) workshop, Bryan Monroe, former editorial director of Ebony and Jet magazines, argued that new media looks too much like the old media:

“I am going to talk about how white the Web is, and the threat that reality represents to journalism for our increasingly diverse nation,” he said. “Journalism is not dead. Not by a long shot. It is, however, in the process of painfully shedding its old skin for a new one. But, in the battle for its soul between old media and new media, something important is being lost: we are now living in a new America… If our newsrooms lack the broad ranges of culture, backgrounds and life experiences reflective of our society at large, how can we even hope to know what to cover and what appeals to a rapidly diversified marketplace?”

One of the key voices missing from many events and reports this year was that of ethnic media. These media outlets have important lessons to teach regarding the future of journalism. In general, these newsrooms have built strong ties to their audience by giving local people a voice and covering issues that mainstream media consistently overlooks. In his FTC testimony, Monroe points to a recent poll by New America Media that argued “Local, community-based Asian and Spanish language newspapers are also growing — up 16 percent in a recent study — as they cover immigrant and ethnic communities.”

If we are going to build a more diverse media and support new models in ethnic media, we must include diverse (women and people of color) voices at the table when we discuss the future of journalism. We must also engage more strategically with ethnic media and integrate a more diverse set of journalists and bloggers into our journalism endeavors.