Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Thursday, October 17, 2002

A Blinded World

Heaven forfend I get through one morning of the first half hour of the Today Show without grumbling. :) Today's bitch is about the show's piece touching on Illinois governor George Ryan and the report of the Governor's Commission on Capital Punishment - which confused me in my relative sleepiness because that report came out a year and a half ago, but unfortunately I hit a dead end (pun unintended) when scoping out the Today Show's website to find out why they were suddenly talking about it now.

[Looking at that site is instructional in other ways, though, for people who delight in analyzing the slant of various infotainment programs. Stories receiving actual airtime include Sue Grafton's latest novel, which I thought was just a commercial (shown at least three times in that first half hour)... I'm sorry, political type stories include "In the Fight of His Life," a sympathetic-sounding headline for an interview with Jeb Bush, and "Food to Feed an Army," a puff piece designed no doubt to showcase another wonderful aspect of Our Beloved Armed Forces rather than questioning our fascination with the military, and what they actually do, in the first place. But I digress.]

This unabashed pro-death penalty piece didn't actually talk to anyone in Governor Ryan's office. Instead it concentrated on the families of murder victims, and how much they want the guilty parties to die. Not even a thought of affording the story some sort of balance by speaking with someone from the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty or maybe, given the angle, Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation; the piece took as a given that people who kill people must of course be killed in return, period, and the only issue at hand was that the right people be put to death. Just seems, I dunno, callous and barbaric to me. I did note that my continued shouting at the TV, "But how does any of this stupid vengeance mentality bring back the victims? Doesn't an eye for an eye make everyone blind?" was conveniently ignored by Matt Lauer, darn him anyway. Just another day started in frustration that the gamut of official opinion seems to range, as ever, from A to maybe C.