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Media Adjuncts to the Shake-and-Jive


I started out my last entry by noting that, because death penalty opponents can't sell their program by saying out loud what it is, there's always some diversionary wrinkle to get what they want without ever having to identify it.  Among those wrinkles are the moratorium with no end, LWOP that's not really LWOP, and the demand for the never-seems-to-be-possible correct mix of chemicals for lethal injection.

Reader "federalist" reminds me of another dipsy-doodle, to wit, the occasional pretense of educated neutrality.  This is most prominent with the very deceptively named Death Penalty Information Center.  You'd think from the name that dissemination of information is what goes on there and, in truth, some does.  But it's skewed, often vastly so, because the DPIC is in fact one of the leading abolitionist organizations in the country.

It was thus remarkable when the influential Washington Post referred to the DPIC as "a Washington-based group that does not take a position on the death penalty."  But that's exactly what the Post said.  

When "federalist" tried to get to Post to correct its error, he got nowhere.

The Post is my hometown paper, and although unabashedly abolitionist, is capable of very good journalism and, every now and again, giving space to dissenting views, including my own in a few op-eds.  It's disappointing that it would make a spectacular error like this, and yet worse that it declined to correct it. 


What makes this even more funny is that WaPo, a few years ago, reported DPIC's position accurately:

"States had postponed at least 14 scheduled executions pending the high court's decision, creating a de facto moratorium on capital punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment."

Darryl Fears, WaPo, April 23, 2008.

That WaPo abjectly refuses to correct the record is telling.

Even disregarding the prior story, the notion that the Post doesn't know the DPIC is an abolitionist organization has about as much credibility as the notion that it doesn't know China is in the Orient. It's just mind-boggling that the error was left uncorrected.

Not mind-boggling at all. Ya see, Bill, if they acknowledge the error, then they have to confront the fact that Mr. Dieter is intellectually dishonest, which means that he should get zero real estate in the paper.

If liberal-leaning papers started walking away from their ever so reliable liberal-leaning sources, the amount they'd have left to print would fit on a postage stamp.

On the one hand, I have noticed that more and more news organizations are actually now identifying the DPIC as an abolitionist group. However, on the other hand, I've yet to read an article taking the DPIC to task for being dishonest in the first place about where they really stand, nor have I read a mainstream critique of their "exoneration" list--a list which I've repeatedly seen uncritically accepted and propagated by journalists.

Another thing: with this seemingly endless lethal-injection imbroglio, why not just switch to using the firing squad?

No reputable news organization should pass along a quote from Dieter without noting the fundamental dishonesty of DPIC's "we don't take a stance on capital punishment" statements. But they do, and they wonder why people call them biased.

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