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: [Closed] The Devil and Dateline NBC
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Justin Wrote This
May 9th 2008
I just finished watching the evening edition of Dateline NBC, and, as it usually does, it made me ashamed to say that I'm a journalist. Apologies to anyone who happens to love Dateline, or works there, or whatever, but tonight just put me over the edge.
(I also apologize for posting this in general, as it probably isn't the best place for it, but, sometimes, when you have nowhere else to go and you need a clean ear... well, welcome to Whitechapel.)
Tonight's edition of Dateline featured a story entitled "
The Comic Book Killer
." The subject of this murder-mystery is Michael George, owner/operator of Comics World in Windber, Pa. and promoter of the Pittsburgh Comicon.
As friends of Michael George, my finance and I spent the week alternately dreading and looking forward to this evening's broadcast. Having had an inside ear to the proceedings from George's wife, Renee, as well as other friends of the family, we were interested to see what spin that the show would put on the trial, the verdict, and the subsequent hearing scheduled for next week, a hearing that could throw the case out entirely due to a lack of evidence.
Throughout the broadcast, Michael George was painted as a louse, a liar and, ultimately, a murderer, guilty of killing his ex-wife 18 years ago in their previous Comics World location in Michigan. Countless interviewees were presented to further damn Michael before even the first 20 minutes of the two-hour broadcast were over. Throughout the whole of the program, aside from his defense attorney, only two people were interviewed that provided Michael with a decent character reference: a local businessman in Windber and the George's pastor.
No customers, no other friends, no family. We would know, after all, because none of us regular customers, or even the store's other employees, were asked to speak to the program.
The show was the most one-sided, biased experience that I've ever witnessed on television, rivaling even the local television news broadcasts that declared Michael a murderer even before he was extradited to Michigan. For two hours, we were forced to hear how horrible a person Michael George is, portrayed in such a light that the devil himself would have a hard time holding an infernal candle to the man. My finance left my house in tears, no longer able to cope with the atrocity that was the program, nor the cheap visuals of Michael and his family in tears as he was escorted from the courtroom following the guilty verdict. As I sit here, I shake with barely contained rage, hammering my keyboard viciously, ready to yell , scream and kick an assortment of objects through the high school goalposts two miles away.
I'm not here to debate the case itself. Since last April, I've done nothing but to anyone that will listen. All I will say to that end is that there was so much other stuff, so many things done wrong on the part of the prosecutor's office, so many faults in the case, that were not presented by Dateline. These are things that I, as a casually investigative journalist, discovered even without my connection to the family, things that ultimately pointed towards Michael's innocence, that were seemingly sacrificed to the Ratings God and the Lord of the Hot Headline.
I've told a complete recollection of the case, the jury trial, the faulty prosecution, etc. enough times that I can recite it relatively well in less than 30 minutes, and yet, in two hours, Dateline failed to touch on huge sections of the proceedings, most of which either put the prosecution in a bad light or placed Michael in a good light.
What a surprise. I knew it was coming, and yet I'm still foolish enough to get angry, believing that other journalists actually subscribe to ethics, morals, and unbiased reporting. Instead, I'm reminded that "The Press," barring a few exemplary subjects, is filled with glory-hungry monsters. At least, Dateline seems to be.
May 9th 2008
After the questionably-ethical "To Catch a Predator" junk that Dateline does every other episode now instead of news, I have a hard time believing that anyone considers them a legitimate news program at all, and not just sensationalist garbage.
May 10th 2008
Dateline NBC isn't news, it's "stories". They craft a narrative, turn people into characters and put on a show. These aren't journalists, they're content producers shoveling out lurid and scary stories to give the masses the heebie-jeebies or tie in with this weeks law and order.
I don't know anything about the case, save a couple of off-hand mentions in the comic news blogs and such. I'm sure after watching Dateline I'd know even less.
May 10th 2008
Closing this one, folks -- it turned into trollbait.
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