Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Reporter would've been 'libel' to flunk
Libel law: Love it, learn it, live it.
I realize I am a middle-aged fossil who doesn't know anything. About anything. Anymore. But I do remember -- back when dinosaurs roamed the earth alongside my good friends Adam and Eve (YHWH rest their souls) -- taking Journalism 2151 at Louisiana State.
And I do know that some young whippersnappers today at my old college newspaper would have flunked.
I guess the word never filtered down to The Daily Reveille this semester that we have, in this country, something called "the right to a fair trial" and "the presumption of innocence." That's because -- based just on what campus cops say was a victim ID and a "tip" -- a Reveille reporter and headline writer just convicted some student of simple robbery.
THEY'D BETTER hope the guy gets convicted in a court of law . . . in addition to the pages of the campus daily.
Basically, a suspect can be arrested "in the attack of a student," "in connection with the attack of a student," "for the alleged attack of a student," "on suspicion of robbery in the attack of a student," "on counts of simple robbery in the attack of a student" . . . or he merely might now call jail his new home, "suspected in an attack on" the 18-year-old female student.
But never is someone who still presumably possesses the presumption of innocence "arrested for the attack of a student near the Parade Ground on Saturday."
That's just wrong.
And Bob Sheldon, long-ago drill sergeant of the J 2151 army, would have kicked certain news-writing and copy-editing scofflaws' asses to Kingdom Come. And back. Before flunking them.