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“Let Scott Peterson Live” Campaign at CBS

As if we needed any more evidence of liberal media bias on the part of CBS, the senior political editor for CBS News, Dotty Lynch, has written a column arguing that convicted killer Scott Peterson should be allowed to live the rest of his life at taxpayer expense in a California prison because he may not really be guilty of murdering his wife and unborn son. He’s no Timothy McVeigh, she argued, referring to the Oklahoma City bomber.

In a liberal outburst that is even more embarrassing than Dan Rather’s claim that the bogus documents he used on the air may someday and somehow turn out to be authentic, Lynch argued in an on-line column for CBS News that Peterson didn’t deserve the death penalty because the punishment did not “fit the evidence” and the case against him was “circumstantial.”

Taking the side of the convicted wife-murderer and unborn-child killer, Lynch argued that while Peterson was a liar and adulterer and unemotional in court, this doesn’t seem like a reason to execute him. Her column carried the title, “Where is the Outrage?”

Lynch, of course, is entitled to her opinion, but because she carries the title of “senior political editor for CBS News,” her opinion takes on more significance. In her column, posted on the CBS News website on December 15, 2004, Lynch says, “A former president of the United States wasn’t even put out of office for lying under oath and conducting an affair inside the White House. But this guy is sentenced to die because of them?”

Lynch went on to acknowledge Peterson’s conviction in a double murder but she claimed that jury members “seem to have used their disgust over Peterson’s behavior after Laci’s death as a justification to execute him.” In other words, the jurors were dumb, emotional and manipulated by overzealous prosecutors.

Where is the outrage over the Lynch column? Is her strange view of the Peterson case a reflection of the anti-death penalty outlook embraced by so many others in the media? Her statements, in my view, are insulting to the two victims, Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Conner; the family of the victims; the jurors; and the public at large. I don’t know what prompted this outburst of concern for the fate of a convicted killer, but one would think that Lynch, a self-described feminist, would have some sympathy for a pregnant woman murdered by her husband. But there was none in that column. Instead, she attacks one “highly emotional” juror who said that Scott Peterson was “an a** hole.”

Lynch invokes the name of Thomas Aquinas, who argued that capital punishment was justified for the good of society. That “doesn’t seem to fit this case,” argued Lynch. So Lynch has assumed the role of deciding how the words of a leading Catholic theologian ought to be applied to a modern murder case. It’s supposed to be Christian to save Scott Peterson’s life. That’s quite a leap for a CBS News political editor. But arrogance goes with the territory at CBS, and it has gotten them into trouble before.  

Ironically, Lynch uses her column to attack the “liberal elites” for not protesting the verdict and conviction. “We hear no outrage from the Catholic bishops, MoveOn.org or the Democrats in Congress and the state houses,” she complains. It never occurs to Lynch that many people concluded that Peterson was a sociopath who was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that capital punishment was a reasonable option in this case. On the other hand, Lynch’s fellow liberals may have remained silent because to go to bat for Scott Peterson would have angered many of those who followed the case and came to the conclusion that he was clearly guilty and deserved death for killing his family. Lynch earns a dubious distinction for making her views known, at the expense of the objectivity of CBS news.

The media “experts,” Lynch went on to say, have not been second-guessing their prediction “that a northern California jury would be highly unlikely to call for the death sentence for a first offender convicted on circumstantial evidence.” So the media experts were wrong. There’s nothing surprising there. Lynch is wrong, too.

What about this “circumstantial evidence?” As detailed by Marin Independent Journal reporter Josh Richman, in a story headlined, “The Case Against Scott Peterson,” the evidence included:

The most damaging evidence was found in Peterson’s car when he was arrested about 30 miles from the Mexican border. Court TV noted that the final prosecution witness, Modesto police detective Jon Buehler, said the car was packed with survival gear, including a water purifier, axe, saw, snorkel mask, several changes of clothes, and knives. Buehler said that Peterson was carrying $14,932 in cash, Mexican currency, his brother’s driver’s license, and charge cards in the names of his mother and sister.

It certainly looked like Peterson was fleeing from something and that he was preparing for life as a fugitive. Peterson didn’t take the stand to tell us what he was fleeing from. Dotty Lynch apparently thinks there may be an innocent explanation for all of this. If there is, she didn’t provide it, either. Evidence seems to be in short supply at CBS these days.