Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How the media can stop its biased reporting about domestic violence and homicides

From Justice's Posterous. I have cited some of these concerns myself about domestic violence coverage in the media. But this is a very complete and concise list. Reporters take note!


How the media can stop its biased reporting about domestic violence and familicides

Don't refer to domestic violence as a "dispute." Abusing someone is not a quarrel.

Don't call him a "nice guy." Nice guys don't murder women and children. Being cordial to his co-workers doesn't make him a "nice guy".

Don't write more positive comments about the perpetrator than about the victim.

"Snapped" is not a mental diagnosis. Most perpetrators have a history of control, jealousy or abuse (even if his neighbors really weren't close enough to him to know about it.)

Don't call him a "man" if he was a "father" or "husband" of the victim -- especially if you would use "mother" for a female perpetrator. The relationship is newsworthy.

Don't imply that it was caused by a "custody dispute". Custody issues are another manifestation of an abuser's harassment, intimidation, and punishment of a woman.

Say whether the perpetrator had shared child custody or visitation rights so the public gets to know about bad policies and decisions in our family courts.

Find out why a child victim lived with the father -- and where the child's real mother is.

Don't call stepmothers "mothers"-- especially if they were criminally complicit.

Report perpetrators' prior charges or convictions (yes, you can).

Don't call men's lies "hoaxes" or other euphemisms. Call them lies or false allegations.

Don't use "alleged" to describe acts that were witnessed, confessed, or proved.

Don't call violent crimes against others "tragedies".

-- Partly based on "ten tips" information provided by stopfamilyviolence.org

Also see http://justice.posterous.com/chesterfield-indiana-man-was-facing-child-mol
and http://justice.posterous.com/johnson-city-tennessee-father-an-ex-con-with