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April 15, 2013

Interesting coverage of media coverage of crime and prison punishments

Marchapril2013cover_300x400Thanks to this post at How Appealing, I discovered that the the March / April 2013 issue of Columbia Journalism Review has a set of articles concerning the ways in which the media covers (and has trouble covering) some modern crime and punishment stories.  I am very pleased to see the Columbia Journalism Review provide this significant coverage of aspects and limits of modern media coverage, not only because I sorta/kinda play the role of a new media journalist on-line through this blog, but also because these articles are part of a broader issue devoted to the modern media's less-than-inspiring "coverage of race, class, and social mobility." 

As regular readers will not be surprised to hear from me, I think issues of crime and punishment are among the most central and least examined aspects of our enduring struggles with the array of dynamic issues relating to race, class, and social mobility in the United States.  Thus, I am not only generally happy to see coverage of media coverage of crime and prison punishments, but I am particularly pleased that this issue of the Columbia Journalism Review links its article to the broader concerns of "coverage of race, class, and social mobility."

With that wordy preview, here are links to the set of pieces appearing in the the March / April 2013 issue of Columbia Journalism Review that all look like must-reads:

April 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I was disappointed to see that there was no article along the lines of, "How Race, Class and Sexism Resulted in the Unjust Conviction of Civil Rights Heroine Kathy Boudin, Who Grew Up in Abject Poverty, Sort Of, But Nonetheless Went On to Achieve Great Things as an Honored Teacher Right Here at Prestigious Columbia."

Yes, it's true. Columbian hired as a teacher Sixties radical and convicted murderer Kathy Boudin.

Don't believe me? I don't blame you. But here's Columbia's own website: http://socialwork.columbia.edu/faculty/adjunct-faculty/kathy-boudin See any omissions in there? It might be the most dishonest rendition of a person's career I have ever seen, but, as noted, it's Columbia's official rendition.

As long as Columbia is hiring cop killers as professors, and passing them off as "prison women's health experts," I think I'll look elsewhere for analysis of criminal law issues.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 15, 2013 12:19:02 PM

Though you justifiably may not like what she did, Bill, nor who has hired her, are you asserting that a convicted offender cannot teach others useful stuff based on her experiences? Is this a special rule just for "cop killers" or for all violent offenders or for all felons or for all those who commit any crime you find abhorrent?

Just trying to probe the nature of your complains and concerns to figure out if we need to be doing some better screening at all our faculty meetings at which we consider hiring plans.... ;-)

Posted by: Doug B. | Apr 15, 2013 12:47:23 PM

Doug --

"Though you justifiably may not like what she did, Bill, nor who has hired her, are you asserting that a convicted offender cannot teach others useful stuff based on her experiences?"

I'm asserting that for a prestigious university to honor with a faculty appointment a convicted cop killer is a complete disgrace.

I'm sure Columbia could have hired many, many other people to teach Boudin's course, and that there was no need to bring in someone who has murder on her resume'.

Oh, wait, it's not on her resume'! Columbia whited it out!! Nice job there!!!

"Is this a special rule just for "cop killers" or for all violent offenders or for all felons or for all those who commit any crime you find abhorrent?"

We can start with cop killers real easy. After that, let's take it on a case-by-case basis.

"Just trying to probe the nature of your complains and concerns to figure out if we need to be doing some better screening at all our faculty meetings at which we consider hiring plans.... ;-)"

The Ohio State University has better sense -- much better sense -- than to hire someone like Boudin. From what I hear, they have a strictly All-Star faculty.

Thought experiment: What would have happened if Columbia hired Scooter Libby, convicted perjurer, but nobody's version of a cop killer? Do you think he would have been welcomed?

Ha! There would have campus riots, teach-ins and the whole schtick. Indeed, it's absurd even to imagine that Columbia, a once-great institution, would tolerate an on-campus SPEECH by Libby, much less giving him a teaching job.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 15, 2013 1:14:12 PM

What constitutes an "All-Star" faculty. I figure one ex-AUSA is pretty much like another and they only see one side of an issue. We should limit those whose belly was fed by the government from dominating the faculty. The key word is dominate, just as the current nine demi-gods in black pajamas have had their belly historically filled by the government and dominate the meaning of words. That is why words don't mean what they actually say anymore, creative non-sensical interpretations, mostly in favor of the government.

How about both Boudin and Libby? I would go with that.

Posted by: albeed | Apr 15, 2013 11:25:00 PM

I posted this earlier and it was lost in the electrons/taken down. Let's try again.

Doug B. stated: "Though you justifiably may not like what she did, Bill, nor who has hired her, are you asserting that a convicted offender cannot teach others useful stuff based on her experiences?"

You are asking the wrong question. The hiring of faculty does not stop at just the first person who knows "useful stuff." The correct wording is, "Who is the BEST candidate to teach others useful stuff based on his/her experiences?" Professor B., is there an iota of doubt that there are more qualified candidates who have not murdered people?

A final question. Please give your OSU Admissions Office a call and ask, "If you were to remove the motivations for the killing, what chance would a person with her record have of being matriculated AS A STUDENT?

Want to bet it is barely north of zero?

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Apr 16, 2013 12:45:15 PM

LOL more like BELOW zero!

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 17, 2013 2:33:13 PM

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