With 24/7 cable news being viewed by millions on a daily basis, it sure seems only a few stories get covered. I would say that when the Blagojevich scandal came to light as with most scandals, it takes up a great amount of news coverage where pundits and those who interview them dissect the story like a frog in a science experiment. What is worse though and here is the most important part, the pundits have already found Blagojevich guilty as charged.
Please take note that as this story is discussed on various cable channels, the only pundits you really hear are those who already think he is guilty. For once, I would love to see someone interviewed who is willing to come on-air or be invited to come on the air and stick up for this man. If the news is supposed to be truly fair and balanced, it is the responsibility of the media to air both sides.
Television news anchors and interviewers who are only interviewing his attackers are showing a bias and where they are pronouncing a verdict within these interviews. In my opinion, it should bar them from serving on any jury. A jury after all weighs all the evidence before them before rendering a verdict.
At the very foundation of our judicial system is the presumption of innocence and to his credit on Friday in his prepared statement to the media, Gov. Rod Blagojevich reminded us all of that.
It is when he said, “To the people of Illinois, I ask that they wait and be patient, sit back and take a deep breath, and please reserve judgment. Afford me the same rights that you and your children have -- the presumption of innocence, the right to defend yourself, the right to your day in court -- the same rights that you would expect for yourselves.” Note the operative word and that being right(s).
I have to add that the governor is one hundred percent correct in making this statement. What if any of us were in his shoes? How would we feel if not only the media, but others within our world already passed judgment? Before any high-profile defendant is tried in a court of law, they are tried in the media. It is no wonder why some defendants ask for a change in venue. Then again, with 24/7 cable news in our lives an impartial venue is shrinking before our eyes.
As his case is being dissected in the news another case which is entirely different has been airing in the news where Casey Anthony is charged with first degree murder in the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony. Her skeletal remains have been found, but with little reported to the media concerning the evidence. Yet you do not see this more important case being dissected as we are seeing with the Blagojevich case. In both cases there is very little evidence leaked to the media to go on. Most likely, Casey Anthony will get an impartial jury to render a verdict since her story is not being endlessly opined by pundit-after- pundit. And her case involves the death of an innocent child.
As a test, try and put out of your mind the punditry and go by what has only been reported where he is alleged at selling the senate seat vacated by President-elect, Barack Obama. You have not heard these tapes, so are you still willing to jump the gun and say he is guilty? When the U.S. Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald came before the media saying he had caught Blagojevich on tape, he editorialized this evidence by stating, “It would make Abraham Lincoln turn over in his grave.” Did that editorialized statement taint any jury pool that will be charged in hearing this case?
Do I think that Blagojevich is guilty where he should be forced to resign his elected seat? No, I do not because no trial has been set, no jury has been selected to hear the case and no verdict rendered. So, under the law he is still presumed innocent and we do mete out any form of punishment to innocent people. Those who are demanding he resign are already meting out a form of punishment. Please ask yourselves this one question: What happens if a jury of his peers finds him innocent? Now imagine if he had resigned his seat. That would be a true travesty of justice. You may find him to be smarmy and dislike him, but if found innocent by a jury, he is at the end innocent.
Some are demanding he resign so that the acting governor can then name someone to fill the seat of President-elect Barack Obama so the incoming 111th congress is ready to get to work. But, should the rights of one man be obliterated if he is indeed innocent? There are some who will fight for the rights of death-row inmates not to be put to death and/or detainees not to be tortured: What about standing up for the rights of one man to keep his gubernatorial seat until such time that a jury has rendered its verdict?
Do I personally think he is guilty? I honestly cannot say since I have not been presented with the facts in evidence, hearing the prosecutors, the defense and the witnesses called. The only ones who should rightfully decide are a jury of his peers and not the media, its pundits, and we the people.
Maybe our judicial system would fair better if these 24/7 cable news networks were to cover more stories, and just report the facts instead of endlessly bloviating opinions concerning these stories. Casey Anthony has not been found guilty in the media nor should Governor Rod Blagojevich.
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