Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nightly News: Lee Cowan Manipulates The Facts

It is appalling that the Nightly News producers, correspondents and anchors intentionally alter the facts of news stories in order to make the stories seem more compelling. On Tuesday, Lee Cowan reported the story of Cornelius Dupree who, according to Cowan, was released from prison after DNA evidence proved that he did not commit the crime of which he had been convicted. But that's not the way it actually happened. The truth is that Dupree was paroled last July--before the DNA evidence cleared him. So he was already a free man when he was exonerated. Cowan intentionally omitted that fact. He led us to believe that Dupree was released from prison after he was cleared of the crime because it made the story sound better. Obviously, Cowan and his producers believe that it is perfectly acceptable to manipulate the facts if it makes the story more compelling.

Actually, the deception began with Brian Williams's introduction to the story. Brian said, "A man convicted of a crime over thirty years ago was finally set free after new evidence proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had been doing time for a crime he never committed." Again, since Dupree was set free before the evidence proved his innocence, Brian (like Cowan) was manipulating the facts of the story to add emotional impact. I think it's safe to say that if this happens once, it happens repeatedly. How many other times have the Nightly News producers, correspondents and anchors intentionally played fast and loose with the truth?

And by the way, at the beginning of his story, Cowan told us that Dupree was "wrongly convicted of rape and robbery." That is not true. Dupree was sentenced to 75 years in prison for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. But he was never tried (and therefore never convicted) on the rape charge. Why couldn't Cowan get the facts straight?

Speaking of facts, Wednesday's Nightly News devoted 2:10 to the story of a homeless man who, because of his great voice, found work as a voice-over announcer. Let's forget the fact that this story has no news value and did not belong on a news broadcast. At the beginning of the story, a piece of video was credited to the "Columbus-Post Dispatch". There is no such newspaper. The newspaper is the Columbus Dispatch. (Moments later, a second Nightly News graphic correctly identified the paper. If they can get it right once, why can't they get it right twice?) And by the way, if such a newspaper did exist, it would be the "Columbus Post-Dispatch", not the "Columbus-Post Dispatch". Even when they fabricate the name of a non-existent newspaper, the Nightly News producers still can't figure out where to put the hyphen.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the fact check: