It used to be that news services reported the facts and left editorializing to the pundits. Things have changed.
The main impact of a recent news story is in a headline and a claim by a lawyer that an execution Thursday in Arkansas was “horrifying.”
Convicted murderer Kenneth Williams was put to death by lethal injection. Williams reportedly convulsed for 10 or 20 seconds as he died.
“This is the most I’ve seen an inmate move three or four minutes in,” said Associated Press reporter Kelly Kissel.
But why is a news reporter the commentator on this? And in the news article, the reporter’s comment is meant to buttress the idea the event is horrifying. That isn’t a fact, it’s a judgement. Why is it the right one?
Another aspect is mentioned way down in the story. Remember, very few people read all of any news story, and most of them just skim. So what is mentioned later in a story has little impact.
But it does note: “‘Any amount of movement he might’ve had was far less than any of his victims,’ said Jodie Efird, one of the victim’s daughters, who attended the execution.”
Williams first went to prison after being convicted in the murder of a college cheerleader. In an escape attempt, he shot one man to death, and killed another when, while fleeing, he crashed a stolen truck into another truck.
We also have to wonder about another recent death in a prison, right here in North Carolina.
Wednesday evening, Prison Sgt. Meggan Callahan was killed in an attack at Bertie Correctional Institution, according to news stories. A convict serving a life term has been charged with first-degree murder in her death.
There are surveillance videos of the deadly assault. Will an AP reporter review them and render judgement on how much Callahan suffered?
Or is only some suffering worthy of notice and comment?