I love the quick access the internet gives us to information. I love reading blogs, heck I make money off of blogs and writing articles online. I know that there is a premium on getting the newest information out their first, but sometimes does all this “instant” access create major issues. Two recent cases have really hit this idea home with me.
The first case I want to look at is the Maria Lauderback case. Lance Cpl Maria Lauderback was Marine who disappeared on December 14. Around New Years, nation media outlets CNN started covering the case. Lauderback was eight months pregnant at the time of her disappearance, and it came out that she was suppose to testify against another Marine in regards to rape allegations shortly before her disappearance.
I know that it would have been premature to just say Lauderback was killed. Yes, she bought a bus ticket to El Paso, and she had been acting peculiarly before she went missing. However, my issue is with the way the media handled it. They reported ify facts and tried to make assumptions that degraded Lauderback and even made her seem at fault for her own disappearance. Fine, she was bipolar and possibly a compulsive liar. Is that something the investigators should take into consideration? Yes. Does that make her the villain? No. Does that mean she was lying about the rape charges? No. there was once a rumor floating about that she had filed the charges and withdrawn them once before. Does that mean she was lying? No. rape victims often times retract their factual claims.. They get scared or bullied, or just get it the their minds that it isn’t worth it for what ever reason. These are not reasons to vilify her; however, the media did.
I was flipping channels and I saw Nancy Grace talking about all these things that pointed to her just running away and going awol. The sherrif’s department is spouting speculation and to be honest NCIS isn’t doing much better. Both sides seem to be blaming the other for the gaps in information. At that very moment, I thought “they are going to find her body, and then it will be a national tragedy.” Not even a week later, her badly burned body (and her unborn fetus) was found. The main suspect’s wife claimed she killed her self by slitting her throat. The official cause of death was blunt force trauma, and last I check that is kind of hard to do to yourself. Maybe I’m wrong. Suddenly she is this victim of a heinous crime, and her alleged killer is a monster. Now there is a man hunt, and they are looking for him in Mexico. Now Lauderback is being seen in a different light. Why didn’t the media just focus on the case and the confirmed facts? Well that wouldn’t be sensational. Who would want to watch that? I don’t care if her step mother said it, it shouldn’t have been made a staple of the news coverage.
The other case that is really just annoying me beyond all reason is the Heath Ledger case. Yes, I am sorry he died. It will be interesting to see what did kill him. He was a pretty good actor. I feel sorry for his friends and family. Losing a loved one is never easy. Drugs probably did play a part in his death. Whether it was from abuse or an accidental overdose, or some strange drug interaction is still up in the air. Just because he has an alleged drug abuse issue does not automatically meant that is the cause. It makes great headlines, but remember we are actually looking for the truth. However, how does his death become the biggest story in the nation. He was an actor. Yes he was famous. Yes he had a profile job and her entertained us. My question is why does he warrant the “front page” listing on cnn.com? Why when I flip through news shows do each of them are covering it like we have just invaded Canada. Seriously, why does Anderson Cooper (who does cover some really great news, causes, humanitarian efforts) need to cover this like it has huge social and economical bearing in the world today? Seriously, our country is headed for a recession, if not a depression, and we care more about the death of a celebrity? The other part is the huge amount of misinformation the media keeps throwing out there against the case. First, it was the position of the body when he was found. Then they said their were prescription drugs scattered everywhere. Instead the truth was there were prescriptions there, but they were all in their bottles. Then there is the speculation of other actors, actresses and friends being printed like gospel truth. Then there is that $20 bill that was found “rolled up” in his apartment. Okay folks, after all the hype, no drug residue was found. Plus even if there had been that doesn’t mean it came from Ledger. How can that be? Well ladies and gentlemen, there could be drug residue on any one of the bills in your wallet. You don’t know who had that money before you, so to assume guilt just based on that is a bit premature. Who knows why they allegedly called one of the Olsen twins before 911, and really if it has not bearing on why he dies, who cares? Apparently the American publics does.
I could go on and on citing case after case and story after story, but why when the issue is always the same. Why do we consider certain things newsworthy? Please, do not get me started on Brittney and her train wreck I can avoid hearing about even when I work very hard to. Why do we allow media outlets to post misinformation and half truths without doing their homework? They do it all the time, and no one usually says a thing. Is quick but not accurate information becoming the media standard?