The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Dog Bites Man; Man Rapes Girl: Journalism and Other Crimes

Posted on | April 11, 2013 | 21 Comments

Just a couple of innocent victims of homophobic bigotry?

There is a basic rule of journalism — a rule that has nothing to do with politics whatsoever — that if a dog bites a man, that’s not news. News is when a man bites a dog. That is to say, newsworthy events are by definition unusual.

Some crimes capture widespread attention from the media and other crimes don’t, and this is not because editors have passed judgment that one crime victim is less deserving of sympathy than another, or that one perpetrator is more worthy of condemnation than another.

Usually, at least.

For example, I’ve never quite understood (and there was a lot of questioning among media-watchers at the time) why Matthew Shepard’s death became a nationwide cause célèbre, with nationally televised vigils and so forth. As murders go, Shepard’s murder wasn’t particularly unusual: Privileged college kid goes to a local pub, meets up with a couple of local two-bit hoodlums who decide to rip him off and, instead, the rip-off escalates into murder.

Nasty crimes like that are unfortunately not man-bites-dog news and, except for the fact that Shepard was gay, his death might never have made headlines outside of Wyoming. But of course, Shepard was gay, and so his death became a symbol of America’s Rampant Homophobia and — if you didn’t pay much attention to the details — you might have thought Shepard’s killers were right-wing fundamentalist Christians, rather than a couple of small-town petty criminals, both of whom had prior records for minor offenses including burglary and marijuana possession.

“True crime” has always been one of my favorite genres of literature. When I was in high school, one of the popular paperbacks was Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter. When I was a freshman in college, our reading list included Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. And the first book I ever read by Hunter S. Thompson was Hell’s Angels.

So I’m sort of an amateur authority on this kind of writing, to say nothing of my own adolescent experience hanging out with hoodlums, dealing dope and being in the vicinity of other criminal behavior of a type usually dismissed as “juvenile delinquency.”

The problem with such a dismissive attitude, however, is that juvenile delinquency is for too many youth the apprenticeship to a life of crime, and all three of the true-crime classics I cite — Helter Skelter, In Cold Blood and Hell’s Angels — focus on petty criminals who kept at it until they committed atrocities that became national news.

Charles Manson had been in and out of custody since he was a teenager until he was turned loose amid the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco and became a hippie guru whose followers eventually committed the Tate-LaBianca murders. Perry Smith and Dick Hickock both had lengthy criminal records before they met in prison and hatched the scheme that became the murder of the Clutter family in Kansas. And the Hell’s Angels were just one of several California-based motorcycle gangs until the 1964 Labor Day weekend in Monterey when they gang-raped two teenage girls.

Some crimes just lend themselves to sensational coverage, and others don’t. The question of political correctness in the selection of Big Headline Crimes nowadays is something that interests me and a lot of other people who believe that too many in the media nowadays are shaping coverage of news events in order to serve some kind of crusading do-gooder “make a difference” agenda.

Damn these wannabe humanitarians and philanthropists. If you want to work at the Ford Foundation or some other kind of charity, do it. If you want to change the world, run for Congress or join the Peace Corps. But stop bringing your missionary zeal into journalism, turning your pet “social justice” causes into crusades, and then trying to bully everybody else into supporting your cause.

So . . . rape.

Now, there is a basic rule of true-crime journalism: Crimes stories are not about victims, they’re about criminals.

Charles Manson is the protagonist of Helter Skelter. It’s not a story about Wojciech Frykowski, OK? Likewise, In Cold Blood is not “The Herb Clutter Story,” and we don’t even know the names of the two girls whose 1964 gang-rape by the Hell’s Angels turned into a magazine assignment for Hunter S. Thompson and eventually became his first book.

Rape stories are about rapists. The victim is usually never even named, unless she is also murdered, and rape-murders are actually common enough that you can’t even get a magazine assignment to cover a story like that unless the perpetrator turns out to be a psycho serial killer.

OK, so what if the rape-murder victim is a 13-year-old boy? That’s kind of a rare crime, and if the victim suffocated — bound and gagged — during an hours-long torture ordeal in which he was repeatedly sodomized, you might think a crime like that would be considered newsworthy.

But most people have never heard of Jesse Dirkhising, and there are those of us who suspect that maybe Jesse Dirkising is nearly unknown for pretty much the same reason that Matthew Shepard became famous: There’s an agenda.

Never mind whether it’s a good agenda or a bad agenda, it’s an agenda, and everybody knows what it is.

The point, from my perspective, is that news coverage is being influenced by a sort of consensus opinion among the influential elite of the journalism industry that some crime victims are more equal than others.

I don’t raise this topic randomly today, but because I’ve been called a “homophobic bigot” by a liberal blogger after I wrote about a case where a gay couple were accused of raping their adopted boys.

This might be a fair accusation if I’d never written about — to cite some examples — the rape and murder of Donna Willing, or the University of Massachusetts gang-rape, or the gang-rape of an 11-year-old girl in Texas, or the rape of an 8-year-old girl in Fairfax County,  Virginia, or the rape-gangs in England, or the 10-year-old girl recently kidnapped and raped in Northridge, California. These are just a few examples of heterosexual crimes I’ve occasionally written about, so I certainly don’t need any lectures from liberal bloggers about how common such crimes are.

No one could fairly accuse me of ignoring or minimizing heterosexual crime, including the case of Elizabeth Leigh Garner, the former Tennessee Titans cheerleader who tried to molest a 12-year-old boyallegedly, I hasten to add, because Ms. Garner is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The same is true of George Harasz and Douglas Wirth of Glastonbury, Connecticut. For all I know, this couple may be the innocent victims of a homophobic witch-hunt, but nonetheless they are accused of raping boys as young as 6.

Look, if you want to call me names and deliver lectures about what an awful person I am in order to demonstrate (by the obverse, as it were) what a wonderful person you are for denouncing me as a “bigot,” OK. That’s your hustle, and if you’ve got a bunch of readers too stupid to see it as the hustle it is — “Admire me! I hate homophobes!” — then I congratulate you on your good fortune. A sucker is born every minute and, in 18 years, they can vote Democrat, too.

All the speculation and theory and research about this subject, as to whether homosexuals or heterosexuals are more likely to commit crimes against children, is immaterial to the news value of this crime in Connecticut, and if you want to see me get really angry about something, just try telling me I don’t know what is or is not newsworthy.

“They took turns raping me over and over”? If you don’t think that’s news, you need to find another line of work.



21 Responses to “Dog Bites Man; Man Rapes Girl: Journalism and Other Crimes”

  1. M. Thompson
    April 11th, 2013 @ 10:44 am

    Damn sir, but you have good points. Instapundit linked to a column about the Gosnell trial as an excellent example politicized journalism.

    The Yellow Press never had it so good.

  2. Rosalie
    April 11th, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    “Damn sir, but you have good points.”
    You took the words right out of mouth.

  3. Dai Alanye
    April 11th, 2013 @ 11:34 am

    “juvenile delinquency”

    Saxon England considered “twelve winters” the age at which adult penalties could be applied, although fifteen became the tacit standard. Fifteen sounds about right to me. Before that age I already knew a good bit about right and wrong, and I could see the sense develop in my own children before they entered their teens.

    At the very least we should consider violent juvenile crimes when sentencing adults. That is, not call a crime committed at eighteen to be a first offense if a similar one had been committed at sixteen. This is especially important with crimes of violence.

  4. K-Bob
    April 11th, 2013 @ 11:45 am

    I was just perusing a stupid story about something or other on the DailyMail website (the one). And I noticed not one, but two sensational rapes covered there today. One has that circus-like macabre feeling because the perp is deformed, and raped a ten-year old, who’s mother gave her life attacking the rapist to give her daughter time to flee. The other features a young woman who committed suicide somtime after being gang-raped, when the girls at school began bullying her for being “a slut.”

    Somehow, when you read these stories you just don’t get the feeling that the rapists involved, or the bullies, would ever consider voting for Mitt Romney or Rand Paul. But of course, the MSNBC-type Dems are still trying to lay the new cries of raaaaapism! on the GOP types, and have tried doing so with their tedious and tendentious charge of “rape culture.”

    I no longer care “why” we are such a polarized society, nor “how to bring us back together.” I just want them, and all their sick-minded drivel, gone.

    (Ahhh! speaking of which, I just remembered the stupid story. It was that piece of human debris in Britain who is frantically ginning up “Death Parties” on the occasion of Thatcher’s demise. Oh, she’s a real piece of work. The Mail wins the “lurid” trifecta today. But only Stacy can explain it.)

  5. daleyrocks
    April 11th, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

    SEK called you a homophobic bigot? Good thing he is so widely respected for his credibility. The memory of SEK tenaciously defending the accuracy of the “Baghdad Diarist” stories of Scott Thomas Beauchamp still brings a smile to my face. Good times.

  6. ThePaganTemple
    April 11th, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

    Anytime a male homosexual, or more than one of them rapes a young boy, ESPECIALLY one they adopted, that is always newsworthy, because it is a clear warning as to what you can expect if gay marriage is ever legitimized and mainstreamed. From that point on, its only a matter of time before adoption agencies approve adoptions by gay couples primarily to avoid expensive lawsuits. And believe me, there will be plenty of lawsuits, well there will be a first.

    The homosexual lobby and activists know this all very damn good and well, which is precisely why they want it not covered by the media, but covered up. Unfortunately, a complicit media is all too willing to oblige them.

  7. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    April 11th, 2013 @ 1:32 pm
  8. Steve Austin
    April 11th, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

    Bill Quick is not happy with you.

  9. daleyrocks
    April 11th, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

    Did SEK unwittingly misunderestimate how intelligent he is again in his piece calling you a homophobic bigot? I mean he did a Google News search and everything to prove how rare these incidents of homosexual predation on young boys are and his results go back to March 15, 2013 with zippo. I don’t know what that means for your point that these stories are very inconvenient for the left wing narrative, but what it does mean is that SEK’s Google News search failed to pick up the actual news stories that ran on the Glastonbury incident in the New York Daily New, the Hartford Courant and other places if I understand his piece correctly. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems there might be a few flaws in his logic as usual.

  10. Bob Belvedere
    April 11th, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

    What Rosalie said.

  11. Bob Belvedere
    April 11th, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

    That’s a Goddamn badge of honor.

    I just read the post [a minute of my life I’ll never get back] and it seems the old fuck is off his meds again.

  12. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    April 11th, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

    I hope you left a comment there like I did.

  13. Garym
    April 11th, 2013 @ 6:47 pm

    What a way to go………… oh, you mean an animal beaver?
    Never mind!!

  14. What’s news? « THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.
    April 11th, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

    […] Dog Bites Man; Man Rapes Girl: Journalism and Other Crimes […]

  15. Quartermaster
    April 11th, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

    Quick is a pseudointellectual idiot as is his supporter over there. Since I haven’t read the study I can’t say it left out bisexuals, but all that would do is water down the sample a bit. If they are left out it does not invalidate the study given what they were looking for. They could do a separate study of just Bisexuals and get an answer on that as well.

    Quick, however, is one of those idiots that it doesn’t matter what you present him with he will reject it because it doesn’t say what he wants said. Quick can crawl back under his rock and stay for all I care because his attachment to reality is tenuous at beat.

  16. Nan
    April 11th, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

    These are the lovely types that want the age of consent lowered or removed altogether.

  17. Steve Skubinna
    April 11th, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

    Is there a name for the Principle of Journalism by which you become a far worse person than one who kidnaps, rapes, tortures or murders somebody? Surely it is taught in the finest J-Schools.

  18. trangbang68
    April 12th, 2013 @ 3:32 am

    Mr. McCain, no need to apologize for calling these short eyed pedophile degenerates what they are. They are an advertisement for why homosexuals should not be allowed to adopt children.

  19. Steve Austin
    April 12th, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

    Bill is dead-on when it comes to the gun-grabbers, but loses his mind and hurls invectives if you object to gay marriage.

  20. DYSPEPSIA GENERATION » Blog Archive » Dog Bites Man; Man Rapes Girl: Journalism and Other Crimes
    April 13th, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

    […] The Other McCain looks at the political agenda of modern ‘journalism’. […]

  21. Terry_Jim
    April 15th, 2013 @ 2:18 am

    Of course, the reason liberal bloggers
    bash you and call you ‘homophobic’ and’ homophobic bigot’,
    and the reason that drives their ‘over-the-top’ advancement of their homosexual agenda
    is their repressed, latent homophobia.