Skip to comments.(2002) Media Ignore Kansas Interracial Mass Murder
Posted on 10/14/2002 4:01:10 AM PDT by kattracks
(CNSNews.com) - The Wichita, Kan., trial of two brothers charged with murdering five people and wounding a sixth in a December 2000 crime spree has local residents and prominent black leaders wondering why the national media have been relatively silent in the matter.
Because the suspects, Jonathan and Reginald Carr, are black and their victims white, many observers in Wichita expected the brothers to be charged with hate crimes, which presumably would have sparked national news coverage.
It didn't happen and some are raising the specter of a racial double standard by the national media, based on the lack of news coverage of this mass murder.
Wichita District Attorney Nola Foulston said earlier that the crimes were motivated by robbery and not racial hatred. In addition, she said, the state of Kansas has no hate crime law.
Neither Foulston nor defense attorneys Val Wachtel and Jay Greeno representing the brothers would grant interviews to CNSNews.com until the trial was over, saying the judge in the case has placed them under gag orders.
Blacks Question Dearth of National Coverage
Ken Hamblin, a black syndicated radio talk show host, said he thinks the case should be prosecuted from a hate crime standpoint.
"Clearly, it was a hate crime. It was a very malicious hate crime. It was brutal hate crime. When you look at how brutal and malicious the act was, there was a venomous attitude towards people in a particular race in question because they didn't know them," he said.
Hamblin said he wasn't even aware of the case, admitting that even in his capacity as a talk show host, and despite the fact that "this is exactly the kind of stuff we cover ... I had no clue."
"It's another perfect example of the double standard brought about by the media," Hamblin said.
Akbar Shabazz of the black conservative group Project 21 is not surprised that the trial is receiving minimal coverage.
While Shabazz does not believe the Carrs committed hate crimes, he added, "It's not popular to portray black on white crimes in the national media today because it's politically incorrect."
"The cases are very rare when you do have black on white hate crime prosecutions. But I don't see the hate crimes angle. I feel that these are some brutal guys who definitely deserve the death penalty, but I didn't think that they took them and killed them strictly because they were white," Shabazz said.
Limited National News Attention
Local news coverage of the trial has been intensive, but even local residents have taken note of the absence of national attention.
One recent letter to the editor to the local Wichita newspaper was blunt about the lack of national media attention.
"If this had been two white males accused of killing (five) black individuals, the media would be on a feeding frenzy and every satellite news organization would be in Wichita doing live reports," claimed Trent Hungate in a letter to the Wichita Eagle.
The CNN website Friday published one Court TV account of the Carr trial. The Fox News website published an Associated Press story about the trial on Tuesday. The ABC News website moved a story on Sept. 6. CBS News and MSNBC made no mention of it on their websites.
On the local front, two Wichita cable television channels and one radio station are providing continuous coverage of the trial, and the regional Associated Press has been covering it as well.
The Wichita Eagle reported Friday that many locals gathered around televisions at the local YMCA, a local health club, local residences and offices to see what was transpiring at the trial.
Other Wichita citizens are taping portions of the trial to watch after they finish work or school.
One merchant, Tom Young told the newspaper he has been watching the trial all week. "I'm glued and repelled at the same time," he said.
"What happened is so terrible, so horrifying. But there's something about seeing a live courtroom, which is so different from Hollywood. It's like seeing justice in action," Young said.
KWCH-TV General Manager Kathy Mohn told the Eagle her station has not received any negative calls about the coverage. Some viewers have requested gavel-to-gavel repeats at night.
"We feel we are being very responsible to provide coverage because of limited seating in the courtroom. But we will not repeat it because it is not entertainment and particularly not at night, when children would have greater access to it," Mohn said.
Syndicated columnist Sam Francis has accused the national media of "passivity" for its lack of coverage.
"When a white commits a murder against a black, it's national headlines. But when two blacks force their way into an apartment, rape two white women and take them and their three white male friends and murder them in cold blood, it's not even worth a national news story," said he in a recent column.
Francis also thinks the trial hasn't received much national coverage because Kansas has no "hate crime" statute, "so there was no legal purpose in searching for a racial motive behind the crime," he said.
"Since the media do a good deal of searching in crimes where the race of victims and killers are reversed, one might expect them to undertake a little investigative reporting in this crime. They haven't," Francis said.
But Shabazz thinks Francis is exaggerating the facts in the case. "I don't believe that all white on black crimes receive national attention. But I do believe that this crime and this act, as gruesome and brutal as it was, just doesn't fit into hate crimes legislation as it is written today," he said.
Shabazz emphasized that if the Carr brothers would have "found any rich person or anyone else they could have robbed, they would done the same thing to them."
Justice Department Silent
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) Friday did not return calls seeking comment on why the federal government was not pursuing hate crimes charges in the case.
The department's website describes hate crimes as "offenses motivated by hatred against a victim based on his or her race, religion, sexual orientation, handicap, ethnicity, or national origin," but also warns about the need to distinguish between certain crimes.
"While such a definition may make identifying a hate crime seem like a simple task, criminal acts motivated by bias can easily be confused with forms of expression protected by the U.S. Constitution," the Justice Department website states.
DoJ also states, "African Americans are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than members of any other group. Of the nearly 8,000 hate crimes reported in 1995, almost 3,000 of them were motivated by bias against African Americans. Other typical victims are Jews, homosexuals, Muslims, and, increasingly, Asian Americans," according to the website.
Currently 42 states and the District of Columbia have some type of hate crime law, according to DOJ. Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, South Carolina and Wyoming have no state hate crime laws.
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Most people are willing to concede their intellectual or political adversaries' sincerity -- right up to the point at which the adversary starts to conceal the facts. There is no conceivable justification for concealing a fact that bears on some issue of note, such as hate-crimes legislation. It reeks of moral cowardice. It throws suspicion on every act and argument of the concealer.
If we're fortunate, events like Wichita, and the embarrassed silence of the media about them, will be the death of left-wing racism.
Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit The Palace Of Reason: http://palaceofreason.com
The only thing that really matters is that these two are on trial for their lives. Given the evidence I have no doubt at all that they will be convicted and that they will be executed and that's all that really interest me.
"Wichita Massacre" Posts:Killing Suspect Just Out of Jail - 01/01/2001
Scott McConnell: "Unfit to Print" - 01/10/2001
THE WICHITA HORROR - 01/13/2001
DA, Public Interest Clash Over Records (Wichita multiple murder) - 01/13/2001
Court seals case files in Wichita quadruple homicides - 01/14/2001
Lawyer asks to close pretrial proceedings (Update on The Wichita Horror) - 01/17/2001
Lawyers brawl over records (Wichita Horror/Quadruple Homicide) - 01/27/2001
BLOODY KANSAS: HATE CRIMES IN WICHITA? - 02/12/2001
Hate Crimes: A One-Way Street? - 03/05/2001
Carrs (Wichita Horror) to have joint preliminary hearing - 04/14/2001
The Wichita Massacre - 07/16/2002 - [Details about the murders]
BLACK RACISM: THE HATE CRIME THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME - 07/16/2002
'Wichita Horror' trial to begin - 09/09/2002
Court TV to air 'Wichita horror' - 09/18/2002
Wichita Massacre Trial Media Blackout - 09/27/2002
Wichita to revisit brutal slayings as testimony begins - 10/07/2002
Deputy recalls moment of discovering bodies [Wichita Murders] Day 1 - 10/07/2002
WICHITA MASSACRE TRIAL UNDERWAY Day 1 - 10/08/2002
Legal wrangling opens Carr trial [Wichita Murders] Day 1 - 10/08/2002
Carr trial: Survivor describes sexual attacks by armed intruders [Wichita Massacre] Day 2 - 10/09/2002
Witchita Case of Black Racist Crime Survivor's testimony horrifies courtroom Day 2 - 10/10/2002
Woman testifies that Carrs killed her friends in a soccer field [Wichita Massacre Day 3] - 10/10/2002
Prosecutors Downplay Racial Element in Kansas Murder Trial - 10/11/2002
Reginald Carr had $996, victims' credit card, watch [Wichita Massacre Day 4] - 10/11/2002
Wichita Massacre Audio of 911 Call by Female Survivor with Court Room Video Footage From Day 1- 10/11/2002
Victims' belongings linked to defendant [Wichita Massacre Day 5] - 10/12/2002
Trial opens window into night of fear - 10/13/2002
Andrew Schreiber, the victim of a carjacking and robbery, continues his testimony. Also expected to testify are family members of the victims, to help identify property found inside an apartment where police arrested Reginald Carr.
I believe rosebud thinks this is a story of national interest not because it is so on its own, but rather when compared to how the media reports these stories in general.
Was the Matthew Shepherd case a "story of national interest?" Probably not. Yet, the media, in its frenzy to capitalize on its propagandizing of PC sensibilities deemed it to be so, thus we were treated to wall-to-wall coverage and at least one made-for-TV movie on the case.
I hesitate to speak for rosebud, but I think he/she means that for the media to be consistent, they would treat this case with at least the same urgency.
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