Monday, November 12, 2007

Justice For All

The place where I work has a couple of flat-screen TVs tuned to CNN, apparently for the purpose of raising my blood pressure, because I usually take my break when Bill O'Reilly is on. And lately, every night, when I stop on my way out the door to put my street shoes on, some over-coiffed news anchor on CNN has been absolutely haranguing Sgt. Drew Peterson about the disappearance of his wife.

Peterson's wife went missing two weeks ago: Peterson, who is twenty years older than Stacey, has apparently not been helping out with the search, claiming his wife called him the night before and said she was leaving him. Stacey Peterson's family say she would never leave her children, and have organised a search, which is focussing on the wooded area around their home. Stacey is Peterson's fourth wife: his first one drowned in their bathtub under mysterious circumstances.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Fine. So is CNN--and every newspaper in Chicago. Now, I may have my suspicions, which I may whisper to my neighbors over the back fence, but the last time I checked the rule was "innocent until proven guilty." And I am absolutely sick to the stomach watching the "legal analysts" on CNN gleefully (literally--full of glee) pick apart the disturbing points in this case, as if he had signed a confession. Today a pundit put so much emphasis on the word "accidental" in the sentence "His first wife's death was ruled accidental" that I could almost "see" the "quotation marks" hovering around her "head." I'm ferociously mad that they (and by "they" I am naming the Sun-Times, the Tribune, CNN, and Fox News)seem to think they have the right to be judge, jury and executioner. The last straw came yesterday when the Chicago Sun-Times ran a front page headline which said: "It's Official! Peterson is a Suspect in Potential Homicide Investigation" like the entire world knew that this was a foregone conclusion. "You think you're such a clever bugger, but we've got your number," says the paper, all the while marveling at the stupidity of the police.

Attention media outlets: YOU ARE NOT THE LAW. The police have a VERY GOOD REASON for declaring/not declaring someone a suspect based on evidence that I'm fairly certain you have not seen. SO BACK OFF.

Obviously Sgt. Peterson has been laid off from his job while the investigation is pending, and last I heard they were going to exhume his wife's body to perform another autopsy. I'm not defending the man, only saying that the media circus surrounding this guy has gotten completely out of hand, and I am not going to listen to the sanctimonious chip-wrappers if they keep it up. Let the police do their work, let the family alone so they can deal in private and stop acting like you have all the answers. You don't.

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