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.

1 comment:

Dez Crawford said...

Well, ya know, I was a dinosaur with you, and in the same classes.

Today's college-age "writers" were raised in the "self-esteem" system of public education, in which a teacher is simply not allowed to tell students "that is INCORRECT," because it might hurt their self-esteem. They have to say, "Let's see if we can try to rephrase that..." and other cowflop.

As a result we have nearly illiterate students in college.

A's a re's'ult we have s'tudent's' randomly s'prinkling their e's's'ay's' with apo's'trophe's' becau's'e they're not 's'ure where they really 's'hould go.

Not to mention the inability to distinguish between "loose" and "lose," ... or between "they're, there and their."

etc. etc. etc.

"Self-esteem" gives you Charlie Sheen -- "I am wonderful, and I am the center of the universe, simply because I deigned to get out of bed today!"

Self CONFIDENCE is learned from attempting, failing, being corrected, trying again and getting it right.