Accuracy in Media

Attorney General John Ashcroft applauded the apprehension of Eric Rudolph, who had been eluding law enforcement for five years, by saying, “American law enforcement’s unending efforts to capture Eric Robert Rudolph have been rewarded. Working with law enforcement nationwide, the FBI always gets its man.” But Rudolph is now being accused of the 1996 Olympic bombing, which the FBI had falsely claimed was the work of Richard Jewell. The FBI had the wrong man in that case, and Rudolph was captured by a local police officer, not the FBI.

The Washington Post noted that “the manhunt for Rudolph cost millions, and the trail had grown so cold that some authorities figured he had died in the wilderness from hunger or exposure.” On, on March 17, 1999, Jeff Stein quoted a senior federal official involved in the search as saying Rudolph was probably dead. “After a while, you start to think that he’s dead,” the official said. Stein said the official thought that “the fugitive may have been mortally injured in a fall, infected from an untreated cut or from drinking bad water. He and other officials also suggested that Rudolph may be running low on food, especially protein.”

In December 1999, John McGaw, the departing director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said he believed Rudolph was dead. “My gut instinct is that he is still there, in a cave, and he’s dead,” Magaw told USA Today. “That’s only my opinion.” The FBI had also put together a profile of the Baton Rouge serial killer. According to CNN, the FBI profile described the culprit “as a white male between the ages of 25 and 35.” The alleged killer turned out to be 34- years old but a black?not a white?male. The misleading profile of the alleged white killer was issued last September?before two of the murders. In March, however, law enforcement authorities suddenly reversed course, saying that the serial killer may be black.

The FBI profile of the Washington Beltway sniper was that he, too, was a white male. It turned out there were two snipers and they were black males. Paul Sperry of WorldNetDaily had quoted an eyewitness to the first sniper shooting who said a black police detective was skeptical about his description of two black men fleeing the scene in a dark, older-model car.

If police had taken his description more seriously, more people might be alive today. A lucky break in the case eventually led the police to the black culprits, one of whom had been associated with Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Incredibly, Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Chief Charles Moose, who presided over this fiasco, wants to make a lot of money by writing a book about the sniper investigation. He claims that rules against employees trading on their government activities for private gain violate his right to free speech.

His wife says that, for standing up for the right to make a profit from his job, “He’s no less of a man than Dr. King, Nelson Mandela and any great person that stood for principle.” This is as ridiculous as the phony profile of the white killer who didn’t exist.

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