Capital Punishment and the Media

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Capital punishment

Capital punishment and the media Slant on the topics

The media's attitude to executions varies widely depending on the age and sex of the criminal, the type of crime and method of execution.

Middle aged men being executed by lethal injection in Texas for "ordinary" murders hardly rate a paragraph in the US press nowadays and do not get a mention in the U. K. media at all.

However a woman convicted of double murder and being injected on the same thing gets tremendous world wide media attention at all levels. Karla Faye Tucker this so call Christian. Who used a pick axe to kill people before being put to sleep she apologize for her sins and to her family. Equally a man being hanged in Washington or Delaware or shot by a Utah firing squad makes international news. (Wesley Allan Dodd, 1989 arrest in Washington State for the murder of 3 young boys ended his 15 year career of violent sex crimes. John Taylor murder of 6 women while sleeping. And yet women being hanged in Jordan (3 in 1997 and 2 in 1998), the 126 people publicly beheaded in Saudi Arabia during 2000 and men and women executed by the hundred in China for a wide variety of offences make very little news.

Why is this? Do we not care if the execution takes place in a Middle Eastern or Far Eastern Country? Are their criminals somehow perceived as lesser people with fewer rights? The media obviously does not judge many of these stories to be newsworthy although they are aware of them through the news wires from those countries (which is how I know about them). In Singapore when executions were reported, they typically only made a small article and aroused very little public interest. Most Singaporeans however firmly support the government hard line on crime and punishment.

During the late 70's and early 80's when executions were rare in America, every execution, by whatever means, attracted a great deal of media interest and yet now they are frequent (averaging over 1 per week) the authorities seem to have difficulty in finding sufficient official and media witnesses. They also used to attract pro and anti capital punishment protesters in large numbers but these seem to have dwindled down to just a few in most cases.

I tend to think that if executions were televised they would soon reach the same level of disinterest amongst the general public unless it fitted into a &qu...

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...d other serious crimes that we presently have.

2) Re-introduce capital punishment for just the "worst" murderers which would at least be some retribution for the terrible crimes they have committed and would permanently incapacitate them. It would also save a small amount of money each year which could, perhaps, be spent on the more genuinely needy. This option is unlikely to reduce crime levels.

3) Re-introduce the death penalty in the really strict format outlined above and see a corresponding drop in serious crime whilst accepting that there will be a lot of human misery caused to the innocent families of criminals and that there will be the occasional, if inevitable, mistakes.


Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Source Day Month Year:


KATHY WALT. “Tucker dies after apologizing. Despite legal blitz, woman executed for pickax slayings”Houston Chronicle 2/3/1998 2

Cathianne Werner. Dodd get the death Penalty, Delaware State News 7/8/89 1page

Matt Kelley. Taylor Dies in chamber, Washington Post, 10/9/2000 2pages

Cynthia Morris. Capital Punishment in the United States: A Documentary History

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