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<nettime> ACTION ALERT: ABC & possible Mumia Abu-Jamal report

>Date:         Fri, 14 Aug 1998 20:35:59 -0400
>From: Daniel Glasner <dannyglas@USA.NET>
>               ------------------------------------------
>                                 FAIR-L
>                    Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
>               Media analysis, critiques and news reports
>               ------------------------------------------
>FAIR ACTION ALERT: ABC & possible Mumia Abu-Jamal report
>  FAIR has learned that ABC News has been conducting interviews for a
>  story about Mumia Abu-Jamal.
>  While we have no reason to believe that the journalists involved will
>  produce anything other than a forthright, responsible report, other
>  journalistic treatments of the Abu-Jamal case have exhibited certain
>  recurring problems.
>  (For an example, read "Witness for the Prosecution: NPR Slants the Case
>  Against Mumia Abu-Jamal" at
>  First, mainstream press accounts of the controversy tend to slide over
>  the question of whether Abu-Jamal received a fair trial.  This is a
>  significant omission, because justice requires not only that the "right"
>  person be punished, but that the punishment be the result of due
>  process.  An execution of even a guilty man denied a fair trial is
>  morally no different from a lynching.
>  Furthermore, when focusing on the issue of guilt, media accounts often
>  do so in a one-sided, prosecutorial manner.  Reports still bring up
>  Abu-Jamal's "confession," for example, without mentioning the report by
>  his police guard that "the Negro male made no statements."  The
>  prosecution's witnesses are cited without mentioning the dubious,
>  conflicting and sometimes retracted nature of the eyewitness testimony.
>  The question of guilt is usually simplified to the question of  "Did
>  Abu-Jamal shoot Officer Faulkner?"--although Abu-Jamal was convicted of
>  first degree murder, and there are plausible scenarios where his
>  shooting Faulkner would be second degree murder, manslaughter or even
>  justifiable homicide.
>  FAIR understands that a primary focus of the piece will be the
>  supporters of Abu-Jamal.  FAIR hopes that ABC will go beyond the easy
>  target of Hollywood celebrities who have embraced the cause of a convict
>  with a "strange" (i.e., Muslim) name, to deal with the real grassroots
>  movement of activists who feel that this prisoner has been denied
>  justice.   The journalists could even use the case as a way of touching
>  on some of the problems in the criminal justice system that Abu-Jamal's
>  supporters believe are symbolized by his case.
>  ACTION: We are asking that people contact ABC producer Harry W. Phillips
>  and encourage him to fully and fairly examine all the issues involved in
>  the Mumia Abu-Jamal case.  Please do not  prejudge the story that Mr.
>  Phillips and his colleagues are working on, or attempt to hold him
>  responsible for earlier coverage.  He can be reached at
>                               ----------
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