|Death Penalty Under
Attack by Mainstream Media
by Daniel T Zanoza
In case you haven't noticed, the national press is on a mission of
late. The liberally dominated media
has always believed it is the keeper of public conscience,
and the left uses venues like television to change social thinking.
The media has, at times, been noble in its self-appointed charge to
enlighten the American people. Civil
rights was one such cause in which the national press
performed an important service. But, unfortunately, in many cases, the
media has been an integral part in the
destruction of the values which have made
this nation great.
The most recent self-appointed mission, taken on by the American press,
is the fight against the death
penalty. The press has used every means possible, in recent years, to
portray capital punishment as something belonging to bygone days, a form
of punishment which should not exist in a civilized culture.
The media campaign against the death penalty has taken many forms
through numerous venues. Prime time
television is playing an important role in the debate
of this issue. The message is sometimes subtle, oftentimes not.
Docudramas portray the death row inmate as a sympathetic figure.
Frequently absent, however, is the pain and suffering experienced by the
families of their victims.
On television network news magazines, the death penalty has suddenly
become a hot topic as well.
Recently, 60 Minutes interviewed a group of men who escaped
death row through the appeal process. Dateline and 20/20 have also
discussed this topic. And, on network and local news programs, the death
penalty, and pending executions, are major
stories, worthy of special coverage.
In addition, the press has acknowledged and rewarded politicians who
have taken positions against capital punishment. Elected officials who
oppose the death penalty have received favorable mention. A perfect case
in point was a decision made by the Republican Governor of Illinois.
George Ryan called for a moratorium
on executions, after it was learned thirteen people on death row in
that state had their sentences overturned.
Ryan, a first term governor, beleaguered by legal and ethical questions
surrounding his political career, became a
hero to many in the national media.
He received favorable notice for his edict from many quarters. What you
won't hear about Ryan is the fact his approval rating in the state of
Illinois is below 30% and falling, one of the worst rankings in state
history. But the national press has portrayed Ryan as a hero. They call
him a man with great social
sensitivity, saying he possesses a clear vision of the
The truth is, the American people support capital punishment by a wide
margin. Depending on what poll you look at,
the numbers favoring the death penalty
can range as high as 70%. Yet the media continues to wage a campaign
which runs contrary to public sentiment.
At times, I wonder how long abortions would be legal in the United
States if the media mustered its
forces against the taking of innocent life. However, consistent
with liberalism, the media fails to comprehend the inconsistency of
its moral position on the death penalty, in contrast to its support for
things like abortion.
Imagine for a moment Mike Wallace poignantly interviewing one of the
many doctors who performed abortions
in the past, but now understand the error of their
ways. Envision an episode of Law and Order in which a defendant is charged
with a double murder for killing a pregnant woman. A major portion of
the program might be devoted to the ambiguity of criminal law which, in
such a case, identifies the fetus as a
human being only for legal convenience.
Though the number of people who oppose abortion is around 50% and
increasing, the figure would soon
reach an overwhelming majority--if the media also favored
the pro-life position. However, this is not the case. The left sees
abortion as something sacred. Therefore, it
is astounding so many Americans do
support the pro-life viewpoint.
The press carries a philosophical bias concerning the gun control issue
as well. Agenda based journalism has
manipulated recent tragedies across the nation
to advance that cause. Instead of asking what has changed in the country
in the last 40 years, which would lead to children killing children, the
press uses each tragedy to influence public opinion towards more gun
The media's manipulation of the American people is nothing new. The
left believes the public is lacking
intelligence and essentially devoid of the moral
character needed to correct societal wrongs. It is entirely consistent
with a liberal elitist view of big
government, which, according to progressive thinking, "knows
There is only one problem with this scenario. I think most rational
adults will agree the mainstream
media, and those who represent it in modern times, are
hardly qualified to lecture us on what is morally sound. Quite frankly,
it is the moral relativism, advanced by
movies, music and television, which has
torn asunder institutions like the traditional family and the values held
dearly by an entire nation.
The death penalty has been a part of Western civilization since ancient
times. Capital punishment is consistent with the teachings of the three
major monotheistic religions of the world.
Yet the fourth estate seems to be saying
it knows better.
The greatest tool the average citizen can possess against the
relentless drum beat of a press bent
on socially reengineering American society is knowledge.
It is impossible for the press to manipulate the public, if that public
is informed. Whether one supports the death penalty or not, the
mainstream media does not have the
moral authority to lecture the nation on cultural rights
Who we will not hear from on the subject of capital punishment are the
victims. Subsequently, the counsel of those
taken by senseless violence should
be passed along to their loved ones and family members. Let's ask mothers,
fathers, sons and daughters of those murdered if the death penalty should
be repealed. By not doing so, we make them victims for a second time.