Media Travesty: {The Story of Troy Davis}

I have been thinking a lot about how we present media information, because Yahoo! happens to be my homepage. First, I thought about how we use headlines, but pondered on what news we tell.

On Tuesday, Troy Davis received the death penalty in Georgia, to die yesterday on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. He has now been executed. Before the trial ended, the defense’s case had all but fallen apart. Seven of the nine witnesses recanted or contradicted their testimonies, and one who didn’t was a man also convicted. Troy Davis received the death penalty for killing a police officer in 1989.

Now, this story began streaming on Yahoo! on Thursday morning, the day after he was put to death. The only reason I was kept up-to-date on the trial was because of Facebook. What bothers me is that the media doesn’t want to cover something until after the “thing” is over. What about yesterday when people were gathering outside of the prison? No news story for that? Instead, they put out stories about exorbitant muffins, Starbucks t-shirt designs, and houses built for cats.

What is less important about this trial than that of Casey Anthony? With so little evidence, the court still moved forward to execute this man. It was law, they said. It needed to be done, they said. I’m undecided on the innocence of Troy Davis, because I have not studied his case extensively. I do, however, believe his trial was handled with very little tact. The evidence fell apart. In the end, Davis was asked to “prove his innocence” rather than have the prosecution “prove his guilt” (something it could no longer do). This was a clear failure of our legal system.

Not only did we convict a man with little evidence against him, we killed him. We locked him in prison for 22 years, then killed him. As far as the death penalty goes, how can we even judge that other men can die? Simply: it’s cheaper. It’s cheaper to kill someone than keep them in prison. And so we twist arms and leap through loopholes, pushing men toward the execution chamber.

So, this post is affronting two things: the fairness of our legal system and the philosophy of media. Although the story was generally well-known, or even because it was, perhaps the story should have been featured in detail days ago, when first the spark began. When first Davis’ death sentence was being signed. I mean, there are people like me, not even born when this trial took place originally.

What are your thoughts on the Davis’ case? How do you think the court handled it?

Advertisements

About Derek Berry

Derek Berry is a novelist and spoken word poet. Derek is the author of Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA Publishing, 2016). He co-founded and organizes The Unspoken Word, a literary non-profit based out of Charleston, SC, which provides an intendent home for the poetic arts through regular readings, workshops, and community fundraisers. He is on the Executive Board of the Charleston Poetry Festival, the inaugural production of which will be Fall 2017. His work has appeared in The Southern Tablet, Cattywampus, Charleston Currents, Illuminations, RiverSedge, and other journals.He has performed in venues across the United States and Germany. He has worked as a photographer’s assistant, busboy, and bookseller. He currently works at a curation facility for Cold War History.

Posted on September 22, 2011, in Blogging, Controversy, Internet, News, writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. That is horrid. Unfortunately, the media loves to feed on tragedies.

  2. Troy Davis story&outcome is making me very uncomfortable.There are plenty of murderers in England that r allowed to just walk free?

  3. Since we only know what the media tells us and all media sources have their bias, it’s hard to know what to think about anything on the news.

    I know this years of teaching sociology: the criminal justice system is NOT just. It is racist and elitist. People will get all justice that money and privilege can buy.

    What you describe seems unfair and I believe it was unfair and disgraceful in every meaning of the word.

    • I just think if the media were involved with his case as with the Casey Anthony trial leading up to the day of his scheduled execution, more people might realize the injustice of what was happening.

  4. I’m often frustrated with the Yahoo homepage for news, and many other news stations, in fact. Cover stories about a kitten surviving a flood appear instead of the more obvious one of the people surviving the flood. We get dating site advice instead of latest developments on the Middle East. I understand human interest stories have their place, and some of them I love reading. But don’t try to mask humorous YouTube videos as breaking news.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: