Is the Media Biased Against the West Memphis 3?

June 6, 2011

The Little Rock Film Festival featured a panel discussion called “The Media and the West Memphis Three”, and the Arkansas Times ran a puff piece about the event. The usual pro-WM3 propagandists were on stage, no skeptics allowed.

The discussion featured Joe Berlinger (director of the “Paradise Lost” films), Mara Leveritt (author of the book “Devil’s Knot”), Capi Peck (founding member of the WM3 advocacy group Arkansas Take Action) and Lorri Davis (wife of Damien Echols). Panelists touched on a number of issues including early news coverage of the case (would you believe most media outlets were a little biased against the WM3?), the reaction to the “Paradise Lost” documentaries here in Arkansas and the movement that has built up around the case over the years.

Wow, can you believe that media outlets were biased against guys who raped, tortured and murdered eight-year-olds?!? Unlike sophisticated thinkers like us who consider them heroes!

Maybe the “bias” accusation means that journalists in 1993-94 did not demonstrate proper journalistic objectivity, balance, fact-checking, etc. in covering the case. If so, the accusation is groundless. Don’t take my word for it, feel free to browse the West Memphis Evening Times and Memphis Commercial Appeal archives for yourself. You won’t find the deceitful “free the killers” advocacy journalism spread by Berlinger, Leveritt, et al, years later, but you won’t find any “forget the trial, lock up these Metallica-loving freaks” bias either, just ordinary bland local news.

Modern media coverage is a different story. The mainstream media now routinely parrots the “free the WM3″ line, ignoring or distorting the overwhelming evidence that Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were guilty as charged.

  • In 2007, Larry King did a softball prison interview with Damien Echols. (“We are back with Damien Echols. The three boys who were killed, you didn’t know them, you weren’t anywhere near there. So why you?”)
  • In 2010, Larry King hosted Echols’ murder groupie wife and celebrity dupes Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines for another hour of “Free the WM3″ propaganda.
  • Also in 2010, 48 Hours Mystery ran an hour-long pro-WM3 infomercial starring Johnny Depp called “A Cry for Innocence”.
  • In January 2011, CNN ran an hour-long documentary about the case unsubtly titled “Presumed Guilty: Murder in West Memphis”. (Get it? In America you’re supposed to be presumed innocent, but these poor goth kids were presumed guilty instead!)
  • And in May 2011, True Crime with Aphrodite Jones rehashed the standard “railroaded because they wore black and liked heavy metal” line and did a frame job on the pro-WM3 crowd’s latest SODDI target, Terry Hobbs.

And of course, the Arkansas Times article quoted above, the one with the snide quip about media bias, makes no acknowledgment of the case against the West Memphis 3.

Mainstream media coverage of the West Memphis 3 is most definitely biased — in favor of the killers.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

LMW June 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Greetings, very interesting site and very well done. Kudos. Did you attend this panel discussion?

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wm3truth June 10, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Fraid not, just read about it in the papers. Thanks for the kudos.

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LMW June 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I meant the lies, your lies are very well done. Take a bow. Raped? You know these kids weren’t raped. It’s shameful that you and yours are going to such lengths to *rape the truth* in an effort to protect your own corruption–all innocent lives be damned. You cite Callahan as a means to move people towards your gross distortions? The producer of that site is fully aware of the WM3′s innocence–which I’m sure you know: http://maraleveritt.com/2011/05/how-a-man-in-denmark-troubled-by-the-case-of-the-wm3-created-an-invaluable-online-archive-of-their-case/

All you guys are sick to care for nothing but your own careers. With staggering irony, it makes you no different than the man that did kill those kids.

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wm3truth June 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Aah, I didn’t get the sarcasm. Kudos on your wit.

It’s an open question whether the victims were subjected to forced anal penetration. But there’s abundant evidence that they were forced to give and receive oral sex. That counts as “rape” in my book.

Callahan.8k.com is a great resource, but I don’t really care what the site owners believe. Many people wrongly believe the WM3 are innocent. That doesn’t change the facts.

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David Jauss June 13, 2011 at 5:35 am

Hello. My name is David Jauss, and I am a member of Arkansas Take Action, an organization dedicated to the release of the wm3. I have followed their case closely for many years and read all of the available evidence, and like countless others, I have reached exactly the opposite opinion that you have about the guilt of the wm3. It’s clear to me that you’re not willing to be persuaded that you’re wrong, so I won’t bother disputing all of the inaccurate and misleading statements on your website, or your strategic omission of evidence that contradicts your assumptions. I will, however, ask you to have the courage of your convictions and reveal your identity (or identities). Many of the wm3 supporters you attack on this site have put themselves on the line by making public appearances and writing books, articles, and letters, and they have done so openly, often at considerable risk for their businesses and livelihoods. You, however, attack these good, honorable people, and the wrongly convicted men they support, under the cloak of anonymity. Do you have the courage to reveal who you are and what connection, if any, you have to this case? Or are you going to continue your gutless attacks on people who have the courage you lack? If you want to call Lorri Davis, one of the most admirable human beings on this planet, “Echols’ murder groupie wife,” and say other similarly despicable things about people who disagree with you, at least have the integrity to do so in the open.

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Val June 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm

David Jauss,

First off all, your argument is about the lamest thing I ever heard. There are crazy people all over this world. Only a complete idiot would plaster their real name, address, occupation, kids names, or pics of themselves on any unsecure, public site on the Internet.

Second, since we’re on the topic of the WM3, I assume you’ve perused through the various forums devoted to supporting these cincurred child killers? Some of those people are nothing short of fanatics. I wouldn’t want those fanatics knowing my name and address (ever hear of Scott Roeder, there are fanatics that are so influenced by things on the Internet that they shoot people dead). It has nothing to do with cowardice, it’s common sense that posting your identifying information on the Internet is stupid. Unlike the most fanatical of supporters, most “nons” have actual jobs where they are not dedicating their lives to freeing child killers. This website exists only to dispel the rumors that sites like yours profess. These 3 were not convicted because they wore heavy metal clothing. Unlike your assertions, the 24 members of the juries were not backwoods rednecks who equate metallica with the devil. The fact is Jessie says he did it. Period. I’ve never heard him directly say he hasn’t, only his lawyers and spokespeople.

Was the investigation perfect? No. But it was pretty damn good. Enough to keep 3 monsters in jail for the past 18 years. Lorri Echols may be the most wonderful person in the world (gag) but her efforts have done very little. The 3 are no closer to seeing freedom today than they were in 1993. My opinion? Lorri knows they’ll never get out. But it must be nice to not have to work and collect money off of impressionable teens who don’t have the motivation to do some real research so they buy into the LIES your organization has spread. Last I checked your website, you were still claiming Jessie was grilled for 12 hours. That was, and always will be, a lie.

I’m done for now. I have to get ready for work. I don’t have a paypal account in my name where teenagers send their paper route money.

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Val June 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Stupid autocorrect. Convicted child killers, not cincurred. Don’t even think that’s a word.

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Hugh Humbles April 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Lorri should have been more careful about what she wished for.

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Eloka January 26, 2013 at 2:55 am

You know what pisses me off the most about all of this? When I was raped as a teenager the only person I came out to told be it’s because of how I dressed, which is what lead me not to go to the police and for thinking for years I caused it.

Even sometimes now after all the healing I have done and progress I have made thanks to family and professionals, I still wince when I hear someone say “they were asking for it.” Because a massive chunk of me still believe’s I might have caused it.

Then Echols comes in cries poor me because of black t shirts and everyone sucks up to him. Guys like this play the victim so well, so well I have no idea why people can’t see through it. He is another Charles Manson.

The other thing, HE said constantly that he believed blood gave him power, spirits were inside him, daemons etc. While I don’t believe in the supernatural, I believe that Damien believes in it. Which is why I couldn’t understand why it was a big deal to ask him about his belief in ‘witchcraft.’ The town might not have believed in it, but he sure did.

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