January 12, 2007

THE MEDIA SCRIPT: Reader Gary Casteel emails:

Why don’t you ponder the media focus on the Duke lacrosse rape case compared to the media focus on the recent sadistic murder of the young Knoxville couple?

It was not a carjacking, it was a hate crime pure and simple. What’s been released to the public clearly indicates that it was a hate crime.

If the young couple had been black and the suspects white can you imagine the media attention, both local, and of course national? Why do local authorities continue to call this a “carjacking”?

Well, “hate crime” goes to motivation and I’m not so sure that there was a racial motivation here — and I don’t really like the “hate crime” concept anyway. Murder is murder either way. And the story’s bad enough without that:

Investigators believe Channon Christian and her boyfriend were carjacked and she was held hostage and raped repeatedly for days before her death, a federal marshal said Thursday.

Details of the slayings surfaced on the same day authorities captured three men sought for questioning in the killings of Christian and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom.

That said, it’s certainly true that if the races were reversed the media would be employing an irrebuttable presumption that it was a hate crime. This double standard, though, is actually unfair to blacks, assuming that horrific crimes by white people must be motivated by something special, like racial hatred, while similar crimes by black people are just par for the course. Like so many of those double standards, it manages to be racist in both directions at once.

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