Accuracy in Media

Looking desperately for an innocent man executed by the state, the media thought they had found him in Roger Keith Coleman, who nearly beheaded his victim with a knife, after raping her. But the media have egg all over their faces. He was guilty as sin. Wouldn’t it be appropriate for those in the media who told us he might be innocent to issue an apology?

He was sentenced to death in 1981 for the rape and murder of his sister-in-law, Wanda McCoy. The case “drew international attention as the well-spoken Coleman pleaded his case on talk shows and in magazines and newspapers,” the AP noted. Coleman was on the cover of Time magazine under the headline, “This Man Might Be Innocent.” The story began with this quotation from Judge Learned Hand: “Our procedure has been always haunted by the ghost of the innocent man convicted. It is an unreal dream.”

ABC’s Nightline featured Coleman saying, “I didn’t commit the murder. I didn’t commit the rape.”

James C. McCloskey, executive director of the anti-death penalty group, Centurion Ministries, wanted the DNA from the case retested. In a statement after the results were disclosed, he finally acknowledged, “This means that Roger Coleman is the killer of Wanda McCoy.  We now know that Roger’s proclamations of innocence, even as he sat strapped in the electric chair moments before his death, were false. ?I had always believed in Roger’s complete innocence.  In my view, he had no motive, means, or opportunity to do this crime.  I now know that I was wrong.  Indeed, this is a bitter pill to swallow.”

The group’s website says it is dedicated to “seeking freedom for the imprisoned innocent.” It lists laudatory profiles appearing in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and other publications.

In the Virginian Pilot, Kerry Dougherty said that “?it’s time for the Coleman fan club to go to McCoy’s family and apologize for all the pain they inflicted during this relentless effort to portray her murderer as a victim. It won’t happen. They’re too busy looking for another criminal to sanctify.”

The same goes for the liberal media, who recently lost one of their colleagues, New York Times reporter David Rosenbaum, to a murder in Washington, D.C., allegedly committed by two thugs. One bashed his head in during a robbery with a metal pipe while an accomplice took his wallet. In Washington, D.C., however, there is no death penalty.

A January 14 Washington Post story by Henri E. Cauvin and Michael Alison Chandler ignored the racial aspect of the crime-the fact that Rosenbaum was white and the two suspects in the murder are black. One suspect, the paper said, was convicted of robbery in 2002 in Prince George’s County [Maryland] and sentenced to a year in jail, but all but three days of the sentence were suspended?”

A fitting tribute to the life of David Rosenbaum, who, by all accounts, was a good family man, should be a thorough examination of the anti-death penalty movement, which is financed by George Soros and his Open Society Institute.

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