Monday, July 7, 2008

Once again, the mainstream media helps readers rush to judgment and presume a man's guilt on the basis of an allegation

As you read on, keep one question in mind: would the mainstream media devote considerable ink to the allegation of a lone person that he saw a UFO? We'll come back to that question in a moment.

Reprinted below is a disturbing story. Yes, the allegation reported would be disturbing if true (and for all I know, it might be.) But it is completely one-sided, and that's why it is disturbing.

Why bother reporting that a man has a defense to a charge that he threatened to rape a woman? How could that possibly be relevant to the story?

Read the story below from from the Web site of a Vermont television station, Fox 44, which is reprinted here verbatim. That story merely recounts the salacious allegations of an accused man's estranged wife, including his threat to rape her. At the end of the story, it is noted that the information was taken from the Portsmouth Herald.

Hmm. I've checked the Herald, and it seems Fox 44 left out a few details, including what the accused man's attorney said about the woman's allegations: ". . . the story is 'part of a larger puzzle,' . . . his client was trying for several hours to get his wife mental health treatment for 'mood swings' and behaving 'very emotional.'" The full story from the Herald is found here.

The important point is, do people even care about the whole story? And if it turns out that events didn't transpire as the estranged wife says, will the truth be splashed all over the news? Not like this, in all likelihood.

A false rape allegation can destroy a man even though it has no basis in fact. Why is one woman's allegation presented as "news" the same as a city council hearing that had dozens of witnesses or a football game that had millions? Would the newspaper report a lone person's insistence that he saw a UFO? Unlikely, because such a claim would not be regarded as especially credible. But a rape claim by one woman that can destroy a man is deemed sufficiently credible and sufficiently newsworthy to print.

This, despite the fact that up to half of all rape claims are false.

By reporting this as "news," it suggests to the average reader that there "must be something to it."

And that injustice is the whole purpose of this Web site.


Dodds' bail set at $25,000 in domestic altercation

Associated Press - July 7, 2008 12:55 PM ET

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) - Former New Hampshire congressional candidate Gary Dodds is pleading not guilty to assault and false imprisonment charges stemming from an altercation with his estranged wife.

A judge set bail at $25,000 personal recognizance and $10,000 cash at Dodds' arraignment Monday morning.

Prosecutors say Dodds' wife, Cindy, showed up at the emergency room Thursday night saying she had been kidnapped by Dodds. During a series of arguments, she says he told her he would rape her, blocked her escape, took her cell phone and car keys. She also says he stepped on the brake and grabbed the steering wheel while she was driving.

Dodds was charged with violating the bail conditions imposed after he was convicted in February of faking his disappearance after a crash two years ago. In May, he was arrested after his wife reported that he had moved out of their Rye home, had been acting erratically and had thrown her to the floor during an argument.

Cindy Dodds filed for divorce on June 20, citing irreconcilable differences.

Information from: Portsmouth Herald,