I’ve been reading some of the latest stories on the Long Beach attacks and I have mixed feelings.
First, with the LAT coverage, the wording used by reporter Joe Mozingo seems to be inflammatory. I guess its been a while since I’ve had to be in a courtroom, but has he unabashedly taken a point of view favoring the defense? Check out this graf from Wednesday’s story:
Bouas zeroed in on this because her star witness, Kiana Alford, said she saw one of the assailants asking himself, “What did I do?” before he jumped in a red car and fled the scene. Bouas has been trying to defend Alford since she wavered on cross-examination, and since Alford’s companion that night testified that they came upon the victims only after the attack.
Toward the end of the session, Bouas tried to call Ross’ judgment into question.
“So you just left your girlfriend of eight months with the guys that were being rowdy, and just got in the car?” she asked, incredulously.
Is it just me, or is this graf kind of inflammatory? This is the type of wording I usually see in a novel, rather than a newspaper story. I mean, come on – she “zeroed in?” Then was “incredulously” asking questions? And how does he know she was “trying” to defend Alford ever since? Did she say so? I don’t know — I was always told never to use this type of language in a story unless the source said it.
Then there was today’s story. I’m not exactly sure what was the intent, but all the descriptions the reporter gave me in the story led me straight to defendant Anthony Ross’s Myspace page. I might as well give you the address, but I’m not trying to make it that easy for everyone else. I’m not sure if that was necessarily the intent, but anyone following the story could easily put two and two together the way I did.
But I’m not singling out the LAT or Joe Mozingo. I do have beef with the Press Telegram’s coverage. First, I appreciate the detail and thoroughness in Tracy Manzer’s stories. But they’re getting super long and super complicated because of not naming those who can be named – like the defendants who are now 18 and some of the witnesses who haven’t asked for anonymity, like the Good Samaritan. I mean, shoot, can we at least get first names? It would make reading these stories a lot easier.