After 30 years as a journalist in California, I’ve come to believe that my industry can unintentionally distort the public’s understanding of the death penalty.
I’m not referring to political distortions rife in the state’s initiative process as voters consider two death penalty measures on the Nov. 8 ballot. (A yes on Proposition 62 would repeal the death penalty; a yes on Proposition 66 would keep it and speed the appeals process and the time it takes to execute inmates).
No, I’m referring to distortion by omission in many media accounts of death penalty cases. As journalists, we often won’t describe the most gruesome details because they can violate the rules of decent public discourse…
Marcos Breton in the SacBee.com