Today's media seems to think actual judges, juries are unnecessary. And, the AP does amazing work
By Gary Abernathy
Regardless of guilt or innocence, Cuomo’s been convicted
I don’t particularly care for Andrew Cuomo. I was annoyed by how the media fawned over him during the covid outbreak last year, using the New York governor as an example of how to do things right, compared to how they reported that President Trump was doing things.
But on Tuesday, when the New York attorney general — a political adversary of Cuomo’s — announced the findings of her office’s probe into allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo, I was disturbed by the coverage on the cable networks I watched — Fox, CNN and MSNBC. On every channel, with few exceptions, the commentators basically assumed Cuomo’s guilt.
Cuomo may be guilty as sin. I don’t know. But I know that in America, people are innocent until proven guilty, and they should be given the benefit of that presumption of innocence when reporting on their cases. Some pundits seemed offended that Cuomo dared to defend himself, rather than throw himself into the flames. One exception I saw was Andrew McCarthy on Fox, who seemed to understand that there’s a judicial process yet to play out. In fact, as McCarthy pointed out, nothing more may happen, legally, unless someone files a civil suit against Cuomo.
I’ve been consistent with this stance through the years, from local politicians to a Supreme Court nominee to the president of the United States. No matter how guilty someone appears to be, the law affords them the presumption of innocence until proven guilty — and the media and public should adopt that same attitude.
I know this is an old-fashioned position to take. It used to be well understood and agreed upon, but no more. And again, Cuomo may well be guilty, and his accusers may well be victims, not just alleged victims. I’m not a fan of his, based on what I’ve seen of him on television. But in our “trial by media” age, he’s already been tried and convicted, and the sentence everyone has agreed on is that he be removed from office. All of this has been decided in the media, not in a courtroom. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. That’s not how anyone accused of a crime would want it to be, even if they’re fine with such standards being applied to others.
It’s not perfect, but the AP’s output deserves applause
The Associated Press has announced a new incoming president and CEO — Daisy Veerasingham. What the AP was most excited to point out was that she “will become the first woman, first person of color and first person from outside of the United States to lead the AP in its 175-year history.”
But there was a line in the story even more meaningful to me, one that reminded us of the service the AP provides every day: “The AP produces roughly 2,000 news stories, 3,000 photos and 200 videos every day, reaching more than half the world’s population.”
To me, the AP — once known as the most down-the-middle-of-the-road, just-the-facts reporting agency in the world — has too often fallen victim to the “Trump Rules” that have made journalism more partisan. But the stories, photos and videos it produces each day to supply information to its member media organizations all around the world is worth a shout out. Congratulations to the organization, and good luck to Ms. Veerasingham.
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