Patterico's Pontifications

4/24/2012

L.A. Times Uses Classic Liberal Bias Techniques in Article on Death Penalty Initiative

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:28 am

In reporting on an initiative to abolish the death penalty, the L.A. Times tells us about the “[g]rowing numbers” of people — conservatives, even! — who oppose capital punishment:

Growing numbers of conservatives in California have joined the effort to repeal the state’s capital punishment law, expressing frustration with its price tag and the rarity of executions.

The numbers have grown so much, it’s now a “chorus”!

The chorus of criticism has death penalty advocates worried, even though California voters have historically favored capital punishment, passing several measures over the last few decades to toughen criminal penalties and expand the number of crimes punishable by death.

Way back in 2004, I discussed the way this newspaper employs phrases like “growing chorus” to describe public opinions they agree with:

[W]hy another story on this topic? Blame the “growing chorus”:

A growing chorus of Bush critics has emerged in recent weeks, saying his youthful conduct then is freshly relevant today.

I have warned you that such language is a signal that the paper agrees with the criticism. When the paper disagrees with criticism of a candidate, it is portrayed as an attack by political opponents. When the paper agrees with the criticism, the criticism becomes a mysterious and disembodied (but ever-growing) entity. Doubts grow. Criticism emerges.

This doesn’t apply merely to criticism of candidates, but any public controversy that the paper’s editors want to push. The fact is that the way an article is worded can skew the reader’s perceptions markedly even if the facts are correct. Since we’re revisiting old posts, let’s look at another example, this time from 2007:

The article in question begins:

WASHINGTON — The growing controversy over White House recordkeeping and disclosure swirled around presidential adviser Karl Rove on Thursday, as congressional Democrats said they were told some e-mails that Rove sent from a Republican National Committee account are missing.

I have to take my hat off to the reporters for the skill in which they portray the controversy as a ghostly entity with a spirit all its own — rather than as attacks on the Administration by partisan Democrats.

And so it is with the article on the death penalty initiative. We are told about all the public officials who have changed their minds on the death penalty, and told that this represents a growing chorus that has death penalty supporters worried. But just how worried are they? When we hear the actual quote, it doesn’t sound like they are as worried as they were portrayed:

“The people of California have regularly voted for the death penalty by wide margins, but of course it has to be a matter of concern,” said Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which advocates for tough criminal penalties. He said fundraising to defeat the November measure would be difficult.

And indeed, when we look at the numbers, support for the death penalty is still strong even in reliably Democratic California. The last time the Field Poll surveyed Californians on this issue, 68% supported the death penalty (.pdf). Although the poll tries to claim that a growing number of people support life without parole for first degree murder, that is misleading, because we don’t impose death in every first degree murder case — by a longshot. Death is reserved for the worst of the worst, and asking people what punishment they prefer for first degree murder in the abstract (as the Field Poll does) does not answer the question whether they want to reserve death as an option for serial murderers, child rapist-murderers, people who murder and continue to kill after being incarcerated, and so forth. Kent Scheidegger addressed this in 2010:

But Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which supports capital punishment, said the question on death and life without parole was misleading because respondents were asked to choose a uniform punishment for all first-degree murderers.

“The question really is, do you favor the death penalty for the worst murderers?” Scheidegger said. “Very few people want the death penalty for every first-degree murder case.”

Overall, he said, the poll shows that “support for the death penalty is pretty stable.”

As long as the California initiative is described in a fair and non-misleading manner on the ballot, I am not particularly concerned about it.

By the way? One of the big arguments in the article is that the death penalty costs too much. I will never stop being amazed by the gall of those who throw up roadblocks to the implementation of the death penalty, and then argue that we shouldn’t have the death penalty because there are so many roadblocks. But this is what death penalty opponents do.

It’s a “by any means” necessary point of view. And one of the “means” is to take strong public support for the death penalty and portray it as a growing, swelling, ever-increasing opposition. They will suggest, as the article does, that abolishing the death penalty is better for victims:

Most death row inmates would be returned to the general prison population and be expected to work. Their earnings would go to crime victims.

Don’t you care about victims, Californians?

Seen this way, the editors aren’t behaving as journalists here, but as partisans. In that vein, I will note that the article is by Maura Dolan, one of two reporters who screwed up a DNA story to make it sound more favorable to the defense, and refused to admit that she had gotten it wrong.

Nice to see she’s on the death penalty beat. I have a feeling this article will be the first in a growing chorus of articles by her designed to sway Californians to vote for this initiative.

UPDATE: Here’s another one I missed, from April 14: Fight against death penalty gains momentum in states.

The fight against the death penalty is gaining momentum, opponents of the practice say, with Connecticut’s decision this month to abolish capital punishment making it the fifth state in five years to so do.

It’s a growing chorus!

94 Responses to “L.A. Times Uses Classic Liberal Bias Techniques in Article on Death Penalty Initiative”

  1. So they conjured up a new Baldus study, that was big when I was in college, but where is the story.

    narciso (8d0f34)

  2. The thing about Media Bias is that unbiased media is a myth, and an impossibility. This used to be generally understood, but as the Western Intellectual Twit Left made stronger and stronger inroads into the reporting game, via Schools of Journalism (Mencken would have laughed himself silly), they promulgated the myth as a cover for their unidirectional bias.

    Don’t like the bias of the Western Intellectual Twit Left? Then do what you can to get your own bias out there! This is finally happening, but I spent the 1970′s and 1980′s metaphorically screaming “Buy some goddamned newspapers!” every time I hit another complaint about media bias from the Right.

    C. S. P. Schofield (df34af)

  3. Yes, because whenever I want to know what conservatives are thinking, I read the LA Times.

    This is the usual wish-casting/propaganda effort of liberals trying to use the high costs of Death Row, which is the result of the neverending appeals process brought to us by those same liberals. They think they are “tricking” conservatives into a contradictory trap, when its just cheap rhetorical bullshit.

    SGT Ted (5d10ae)

  4. Scheidegger in the earlier piece, admits that abolition efforts aren’t going anywhere, so they just need to chip at it.

    narciso (8d0f34)

  5. there are only a very few states what are even competent enough anymore to actually put criminal people to death at all reliably and even them ones spend a fortune doing it

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  6. I’ve said this before, statistically about 40 executions in the US of murderers each year will prevent around 2,100 murders a year.

    Why does the Times want people to be murdered? Why doesn’t the Times care about victims?

    Tanny O'Haley (12193c)

  7. Judge Parker, in twenty-one years, hanged 87 people, a lot of them for killing a man for his shoes, in Arkansas Territory (actually, Oklahoma). Where I live, nobody’s likely to kill me for my shoes, but they might for $10.00 for their next fix of crack, or meth, or Norco.

    nk (875f57)

  8. If and when the death penalty is abolished, the same people will be demanding the abolition of Life in Prison Without Parole.

    DN (322684)

  9. Spot-on about the LAT’s bias, as always. Another tactic worth noting: Assertions of facts without any evidence. The article just claimed “growing” numbers of conservatives want the death penalty repealed, and didn’t even attempt to substantiate it.

    Nice that the article quoted as a death penalty opponent Gil Garcetti, the genius who botched the OJ case.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0712a6)

  10. I’m a conservative, but nobody asked my opinion. To be fair, I don’t answer calls from the LA Times. A question I might have for Patrick: If the death penalty were abolished, what would you use for a plea bargain?

    BarSinister (99d480)

  11. It’s just too bad we don’t have an initiative expanding the Death Penalty to include Legislative Malpractice.
    It would pass overwhelmingly; and then where would the Times go?

    AD-RtR/OS! (7aa479)

  12. a growing chorus
    in my house to extend it
    to Times editors

    Colonel Haiku (d22b1f)

  13. Comment by BarSinister — 4/24/2012 @ 8:25 am

    Unfortunately, prosecutors have an extensive laundry list of options to invoke.

    AD-RtR/OS! (7aa479)

  14. How much did the death penalty cost in California in 1912?

    How much did it cost in Rome in 12?

    If and when the death penalty is abolished, the same people will be demanding the abolition of Life in Prison Without Parole.

    Any proof?

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  15. I wonder about the influence of the times. With their paywall have they lost readership substantially ? Anyone know?

    Alex (15f526)

  16. I wonder about the influence of the times. With their paywall have they lost readership substantially ? Anyone know?

    They have still too much influence in California, unfortunately.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  17. It’s already the practice in the EU, Michael. No effective sentences of more than 25 years.

    nk (875f57)

  18. 16 agreed, but I wonder about the trend…

    Alex (15f526)

  19. Comment by nk — 4/24/2012 @ 9:04 am

    Don’t even need to look that far, just cast your gaze upon our Southern neighbor.

    AD-RtR/OS! (7aa479)

  20. _____________________________________________

    If and when the death penalty is abolished, the same people will be demanding the abolition of Life in Prison Without Parole.

    I know that Mexico’s Supreme Court several years ago ruled that life in prison without the possibility of parole violated their country’s constitution. Of course, that nation is a very safe, crime-free and socially wonderful one.

    I don’t mind people believing or feeling that capital punishment is bad if they at least admit their sentiments are one of ruthlessness and a disdain towards — or a cavalier disregard about — the victims of murderers. But, no, anti-death-penalty proponents instead see themselves as being such beautiful, compassionate and sophisticated members of the human race.

    Mark (411533)

  21. Why is it that, for the most part, the same people who rail against, and try to deligitimize, the Death Penalty, support Abortion Upon Demand, and Euthanasia?

    AD-RtR/OS! (7aa479)

  22. ____________________________________________

    No effective sentences of more than 25 years.

    I’m sure Anders Breivik is fully aware of the high number of pushovers and fools in the country where he massacred so many people. Liberalism gone berserk makes a society drunk with the so-called Stockholm Syndrome. Bloodthirsty types like Breivik can easily and happily exploit that.

    Mark (411533)

  23. It’s already the practice in the EU, Michael. No effective sentences of more than 25 years.

    I wonder why that is. What is the motivation of those who ensure no more effective sentences than 25 years?

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  24. Why is it that, for the most part, the same people who rail against, and try to deligitimize, the Death Penalty, support Abortion Upon Demand, and Euthanasia?

    Because they do not believe murderers prevent teenage girls from fitting into prom dresses.

    I know that Mexico’s Supreme Court several years ago ruled that life in prison without the possibility of parole violated their country’s constitution.

    That was actually used to prevent an extradition, in violation of a treaty that explicitly allowed such an extradition.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  25. LA County shutting down 56 courtrooms. State of IL $9.5 Billion in arrears to vendors and citizens.

    Default, asset deflation and food/energy hyperinflation, you’ve earned it all Amerikkka.

    gary gulrud (1de2db)

  26. Greetings:

    Not long ago, I skimmed an article about California’s death penalty. The provocation for the article was the death of a death row inmate from natural causes. He was the 57th inmate to so expire. The article reported that there were 700+ death row inmates of whom, the formerly great State of California had been able to execute only 19.

    My conclusion was that the anti-death penalty zealots had pretty much out worked their opponents and the only practical reason that I could think of to keep the death penalty would be to tie up the resources the “antis” would surely re-allocate to monkey-wrenching some other public law or policy.

    The reason I used the “out worked” descriptor is because I rarely see conservative web sites admit that that’s what their opponents are doing.

    11B40 (acc353)

  27. Kindness and mercy. I don’t agree with them but I don’t blame them for that. My personal opinion is that some crimes are so horrible that society must retaliate violently or else it is an accessory. And also, I do not care whether deterrence works but I do know that incapacitation does. But nobody elected me king of the world.

    nk (875f57)

  28. Not long ago, I skimmed an article about California’s death penalty. The provocation for the article was the death of a death row inmate from natural causes. He was the 57th inmate to so expire. The article reported that there were 700+ death row inmates of whom, the formerly great State of California had been able to execute only 19.

    My conclusion was that the anti-death penalty zealots had pretty much out worked their opponents and the only practical reason that I could think of to keep the death penalty would be to tie up the resources the “antis” would surely re-allocate to monkey-wrenching some other public law or policy.

    Why is the death penalty less efficient in California than Texas- let alone Rome in 12?

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  29. TX isn’t subject to the 9th Circuit.

    AD-RtR/OS! (d17eb3)

  30. _________________________________________

    What is the motivation of those who ensure no more effective sentences than 25 years?

    Simply put, the idiocy and lunacy of liberal, we’re-okay-so-you’re-okay emotions. Leftism gone berserk.

    I guess the flip side of that would be what occurs in countries like China, where one can be put to death for crimes that lie well below those of murder.

    Mark (411533)

  31. Rome sidelined in death cult. Funeral games in the arena, paid for privately by the bereaved, to revere the memory of a parent. Slaves cost money, condemned criminals were cheaper.

    nk (875f57)

  32. Some were strangled, by hand, by an executioner with strong hands, in the basement of the temple of Saturn, as an offering to Saturn.

    nk (875f57)

  33. Vercinogentrix.

    nk (875f57)

  34. 11B40

    I’m thinking there’s very little money in keeping death row inmates off of the gurney i.e. largely pro bono by rich lawyers and state provided attorneys at state provided wages. But there would be a time ‘hole’ to fill that could be impactful. That said, in California there is no expectation that a death penalty conviction will result in a criminal being put to death so I can’t see how there could be a criminal behavior impact. You either have a death penalty Texas style, which likely does change criminal behavior at some level, or you have none at all. California’s death penalty, as it exists, as it’s deployed, is a joke.

    East Bay Jay (2fd7f7)

  35. Rome sidelined in death cult. Funeral games in the arena, paid for privately by the bereaved, to revere the memory of a parent. Slaves cost money, condemned criminals were cheaper.

    We need to have the kind of death cult Rome had in 12.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  36. No. Rome is now a memory and a tourist attraction with Italian men prancing around in frillier underwear than that of their wives’. We’re America, with our own laws and our own ethos. We know what works for us.

    nk (875f57)

  37. How about an initiative that removes 1 state judge from the bench, by lot, every month the average stay on death row exceeds 10 years or there are more than 300 people on death row.

    Given that the holdup is often federal, this may seem harsh, but hostage-taking usually is.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  38. As far as executions being painless, I suggest using a bolt gun. If it’s humane for cattle, it ought to be OK for humans condemned killers.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  39. By the way, how many people on California’s Death Row have been exonerated? Pretty sure the number is zero.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  40. If we rebranded the death penalty to something like post partum societal choice, perhaps the growing choruses could be muted and peace could reign over the broke dick land of ours once more.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  41. We know what works for us.

    Well, not recently.

    Ghost (52b288)

  42. Perry Mason was terrific television, but if it wasn’t for Perry just think of all those innocents we’d be executing.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  43. Patterico, which way do you think Kamala Harris will go on the initiative? Thank gawds she isn’t in charge of titling it, or it would be called the Racial Justice Initiative.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  44. A few thoughts:
    1) nk does not routinely by the latest Air Jordan’s from Nike
    2) I read where there was some “exception to the rule” about the 25 years max in the EU for Breivik. It was something like “25 years max, unless you are still judged to be a threat to society”, in which case they can keep you indefinitely. (Don’t quote me on the details, but I’m pretty sure that is the essence, as I had wondered what they would do in such a case. I guess it is a version of “I’m in charge and I can do whatever I want”.)

    Kind of like the South African Constitution, pages and pages of so-called “rights” like a decent home and a job, all guaranteed “dependent on the countries ability to provide them”. To misquote Inigo, I don’t think “rights” and guaranteed” mean what they think they do. Promise pie in the sky, if you can afford it, then, “oops, can’t afford it”. To more accurately quote Dennis Prager, that as a constitution sounds like only somebody with a graduate degree would support.

    nk, you gave an anecdote about refinancing a distressed mortgage that sounded pretty good. How about getting our mortgage holder to agree to a rewriting of our contract saying how much we will pay them each month “if we can spare it”. (No, we don’t have a problem, but, really, it’s the principle of the thing. I guess we’d have to get 4 more justices like Ginsberg in order to get away with it, but if that were the case, I think we’d have bigger problems.)

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  45. by should be buy, I am referring other corrections to me editor.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  46. The best thing about capital punishment is that even if the sentence is never carried out, the sentence keeps soft-headed governors/parole boards from cutting them loose unless they want to be tarred and feathered. If California liberals really want to abolish the death penalty, they’d write a constitutional amendment that also stripped the power of the governor to pardon life without parole murderers unless solid proof of actual innocence arose, with the level of proof being subject to judicial review before any pardon took effect. Life without parole needs to mean “you’re not leaving prison except in a box or having been found actually innocent of the charges against you.”

    M. Scott Eiland (003254)

  47. Illinois abolished parole in the early 80s, but there is still a parole board because it is a political plum — they have their own private railroad car as they travel through Illinois, like Jim and Artemus in Wild, Wild West.

    I don’t know what to do with them, they are still our fellow humans. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls”? I go with what the majority of my other fellow humans say.

    nk (875f57)

  48. we should adopt the old russian way f executing prisoners, to avoid inflicting the trauma and stress of a formal execution on the poor dear inmate.

    instead of making a big deal of it, just pop them in the back of the skull with a small caliber pistol bullet as they are walking down the hall one day, going from one place to another.

    no warning, no fuss, little muss and they’re dead before they know it, so everyone’s happy.

    redc1c4 (403dff)

  49. We need more children’s coloring books from death row inmates.

    Huge, I mean really HUGE, Christmas item!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  50. They still do it that way, in a lot places, red. Streets of Chicago and LA, I imagine New York, too.

    I like the Apache way. If a man is worth killing, he is worth killing good. Cut off his ears, cut out his tongue. Cut his elbow tendons and hamstrings. His genital organs. Leave his eyes last, so he can see what you’re doing, but be sure to gouge them out before you ride off, leaving him to flop around, croaking, in the Mojave.

    nk (875f57)

  51. “we should adopt the old russian way f executing prisoners”

    redc1c4 – I fancy the traditional Mughal punishment for crimes like mutiny, blowing from a canon. You don’t see that everyday.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  52. I believe in capital punishment, I just lack faith in our justice department to get it right. That said, I want an honest debate on whether or not we should be executing criminals.

    The thing that never made sense to me was the idea of a confession taking the death penalty off the table. The one time we know for sure, and we don’t kill them.

    And this disgusting practice of lobbying for the release of people like Mumia Abu Jamal needs to stop. “They’re on death row and I disagree with the death penalty, so set him free!” Yeah, that makes sense.

    Ghost (d27d01)

  53. Well, a confession taking the death penalty off the table is mostly TV, Ghost. We call it admissions and that’s what gets them convicted, and the death penalty looms large.

    About Mumia, Bianca Jaeger had to find something to do in her spare time with Mick’s alimony checks.

    nk (875f57)

  54. You mean Law & Order isn’t going by proper procedure? I’m shocked, shocked I say!

    But seriously thats good to know.

    Ghost (52b288)

  55. The biggest issue in death penalty case has been unrecorded admissions to the police and to jailhouse snitches, that both the officer and the snitch can testify to. No offense to prosecutors, but regardless of what they say in trying to narrow Miranda, defendants’ admissions are a bullet in the back of the head.

    nk (875f57)

  56. If California liberals really want to abolish the death penalty, they’d write a constitutional amendment that also stripped the power of the governor to pardon life without parole murderers unless solid proof of actual innocence arose, with the level of proof being subject to judicial review before any pardon took effect.

    What stops the governor from pardoning condemned murderers?

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  57. Texas has a law like that. The most the governor can do is issue a short stay. The parole board has the final decision on pardon or commutation.

    nk (875f57)

  58. One of the big arguments in the article is that the death penalty costs too much. I will never stop being amazed by the gall of those who throw up roadblocks to the implementation of the death penalty, and then argue that we shouldn’t have the death penalty because there are so many roadblocks. But this is what death penalty opponents do.

    This is pretty much what liberal twits do… about pretty much everything.

    The death penalty is just a popular target.

    IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States (8e2a3d)

  59. It’s a growing chorus!

    Speaking of “spin” — Perhaps it’s mainly that “chorus” is the wrong word.

    I think “cacophony” is a much, much better choice.

    add on “…With much wailing and gnashing of teeth.” and it’s GOLD, baby!!

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master (8e2a3d)

  60. This is rich. Dozens of Christianist comments advocating for the death penalty. “It’s the media’s fault!”

    But, of course, this is the site on which right wingers also opined Sandra Fluke deserved to have her “box” sealed with “concrete.”

    Logic may be a rare commodity among these parts, but at least Patrick Frey and his admirers are repellently consistent.

    Joel MaHarry (fad03b)

  61. “Christianists” of course are just like “Islamists”, constantly committing suicide bombings, killing “infidels” and other terrorists acts.

    Or so it is in the world of left-wing trolldom.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (299355)

  62. Joel eats boogerz

    JD (abb177)

  63. “Christianist”? Is that supposed to sting, repellant little troll?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  64. Joel could lick my ….s, but he isn’t tall enough.

    AD-RtR/OS! (a3ad73)

  65. So…

    “…But, of course, this is the site on which right wingers also opined Sandra Fluke deserved to have her “box” sealed with “concrete.”…”

    Is this the new plan? Lie about what other people say, so that other trolls can pick it up, repeat and spread it, and insist it is true (when it is false) and drown out, well, the truth?

    People like this troll are odious and should be ashamed. Who raised them?

    Simon Jester (a230f3)

  66. Plus, I doubt that this was the real “Joel MaHarry.” Brave move by the trolls. Gosh I wonder why they spoof names?

    Simon Jester (a230f3)

  67. 62: Why fabricate positions I don’t hold, Brother Bradley? It strikes me that Christianists hold beliefs that are inconsistent with what Christ actually posits/ed.
    Islamists cling to a “philosophy” that pre-dates the Enlightenment; and I believe that Bronze-Age mode of thought mixes with post-Enlightenment explosives and digital triggering technology to horrific effect.
    I believe you, as a Christianist, are wrong. I believe the Islamist is deranged.
    Are those moral shadings, Brother Bradley, too fine for you to discern?

    Joel MaHarry (fad03b)

  68. Your bigotry is not nuanced a bit, Joel.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  69. Joel MaHarry – Didn’t read the post, did you?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  70. 66. Sorry, Simon, this is the site on which people opined this very exact fate for Fluke.
    3/5/2012, comment 50:
    “this slut need her box filled with concrete…”
    Preceded, but of course not bettered, by comment 49:
    “her vagina speaks with absolute authority, I want to hear it sing the national anthem…”
    And proceeded by comment 52:
    “The vagina monotones?”

    So, Simon, is this a lie? Or, are you wrong, and is this, the published transcript, actually the truth? (Hint: Google “Patterico Fluke Box Concrete”)

    Of course, I’m probably taking these comments from Frey’s online brethren out of context.

    Joel MaHarry (fad03b)

  71. “Dozens of Christianist comments advocating for the death penalty.”

    Joel MaHarry – Since you brought it up, can you provide the number and reason for those dozens of comments on this thread you claim are Christianist, please?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  72. Christianist was coined by Andrew Sullivan. Enough said.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  73. 67. Wrong again, Simon.

    Joel MaHarry (fad03b)

  74. I believe you, as a Christianist, are wrong. I believe the Islamist is deranged.
    Are those moral shadings, Brother Bradley, too fine for you to discern?

    Comment by Joel MaHarry

    So the “truth” comes out, Bro. Bradley is a “Christianist”. I wonder if Mr MaHarry has elsewhere informed people that Prsident Obama is a Zionist.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  75. @ Kevin M,

    Patterico, which way do you think Kamala Harris will go on the initiative? Thank gawds she isn’t in charge of titling it, or it would be called the Racial Justice Initiative.

    I mentioned on the Racial Justice thread a few days ago that it would seem states that are dominated by a liberal government should be concerned about a possible Racial Justice law getting put on the books. And California seems ripe for it.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  76. 70. Daleyrocks, yes, I did read the post (albeit quickly). And I agree with Frey insofar as journalists too frequently rely on lazy formulations (dead metaphors, really) like “a growing chorus.”
    Just like they rely on “sweeping mandate”, “deafening silence.” etc., etc.
    Where I disagree is that this is a symptom of a liberal press; I feel it’s a symptom of a lazy press.
    Anyway, my argument isn’t with the post; it has to do with the content of the comments. Actually, what I believe to be the hypocrisy of the comments.

    Joel MaHarry (fad03b)

  77. You guys remember Joel MaHarry, right?

    Patterico (feda6b)

  78. Just a little food for thought…I don’t recall many anti-death penalty proponents making a lot of noise when Timothy (federal building bomber in OK City) McVeigh was executed.

    I do remember when the Mike Farrells (remember him from M*A*S*H ?)of the world were holding candlelight vigils for some thug named “Tookie” a number of years ago.

    I’m sure there’s some “reason” for the disparate reactions by liberals to those two particular cases, but I just don’t know what it could be !

    Elephant Stone (0ae97d)

  79. Anyway, I do. Banned long ago, for excellent reasons. I see no reason to change my mind.

    Patterico (feda6b)

  80. Not really, Patterico, so far he appears to be another person without any principles, and no understanding of principles, who thinks its brilliant to attack people who have them. And only manages to show his own bigotry and hate in the process.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  81. “Anyway, my argument isn’t with the post; it has to do with the content of the comments. Actually, what I believe to be the hypocrisy of the comments.”

    Joel MaHarry – You claimed there were dozens of Christianist comments on this thread. I politely asked you to support your own statement, which makes complete sense since your issue is with the comments rather than the post itself.

    Your comments, as in previous appearances on this blog, are just further examples of the unsupported, demented, deranged, community-based reality of the discredited left.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  82. “You guys remember Joel MaHarry, right?”

    Patterico – Yes. I take dumps that are better looking and have more truth in them than Joel’s comments.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  83. I am an atheist that supports the death penalty. Is it okay for me to comment here?

    kaf (9cc612)

  84. kaf, nope, Papists only.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  85. Ah, Mr. MaHarry. I’m kind of disappointed in you. Because you are leaving out two points:

    1. sickofrinos is, um, a disturbed individual. Like every blog—other than ones on the Left, apparently—there are always a few people working out personal issues.

    2. Other posters did object. Remember? Mr. Feet has gotten chided many times for the appearance of misogyny, and even he thought that was too far over the line (and notice that other folks made that observation).

    Anyway, it appears you were banned by Patterico in the past. Given your posts now, it’s not a surprise. People who get banned here are not so nice people.

    So I have an idea, since you are all about blaming groups of people for what one poster says.

    Have you publically condemned the people who danced on the graves of right wing people? Who call Republicans Nazis? I’m curious. Because what I perceive of you suggests that you are an alphabetist.

    Alphabetists twist themselves into knots explaining their own hypocrisy. All they are left with, complete with petulant foot stomp, is that it’s different when they do it.

    I would rather be a Christianist (even accepted your inaccurate and mean-spirited definition) than an alphabetist. Because an alphabetist doesn’t believe in anything at all, other than the letter “D.”

    And being that kind of hypocrite is obviously smart, hip, and edgy.

    Simon Jester (a230f3)

  86. kaf, hopefully you noted SPQR’s sarcasm. Of course you are welcome here. The threshold for being unwelcome is quite high, due to our host’s generosity and big-heartedness in opening his virtual living room for discussion. One has to try very hard to be unwelcome here, which apparently Mr. MaHarry has accomplished.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  87. Can anyone name a principled reason why (Night Stalker) Richard Ramirez still lives? Is there some doubt about his guilt? Was his trial unfair? Did his mom put him on the potty backwards? It’s been what, 23 years since his conviction (1989). It took California courts 17 years to complete his appeal process (2006). Presumably it will be reviewed by the 9th Circuit, no doubt landing in the capable hands of Stephen Reinhardt.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  88. @89: I would ask the same questions about Richard Allen Davis.

    Old Coot (c1bd65)

  89. MD in Philly: I am a long time lurker so I understood SPQR. But thanks for the support.

    kaf (9cc612)

  90. Great article! Keep up the good work!

    liberal bias (f2d9e7)

  91. RE the comment by Kevin M. “By the way, how many people on California’s Death Row have been exonerated? Pretty sure the number is zero.”

    Well Kevin, for your information In California alone, more than 200 innocent men and women have been convicted for crimes they did not commit; six of them had been sentenced to execution.

    Three innocent people have been exonerated on Death Row in California. Jerry Bigelow was released in 1988 after serving 8 years, Patrick Croy was released in 1990 after serving 11 years, and Troy Lee Jones was released in 1996 after serving 14 years.

    However, just because someone was NOT exonerated does not mean they were actually guilty. If the defendant had poor representation it is entirely possible they were convicted of a crime they did not commit. And, poor people who cannot afford a good lawyer are far more likely to be sentenced to execution.

    Ultimately the problem with the death penalty is that if you make a mistake there’s no taking it back. Given the number of recent exonerations across the USA based on DNA evidence, can we really afford to be so arrogant as to believe we haven’t killed someone that was in fact innocent? It would be great if the system was perfect and worked every time – its not.

    Least anyone accuse me of being a bleeding heart and soft on crime, understand I have family members in law enforcement and I don’t like it when criminals go free any better than the next person. And, while I can see there are situations where the proof is so overwhelming and obvious that I could see the argument FOR the death penalty, it would seem to me that everyone would do well to remember our Constitution and laws were not necessarily crafted to ensure every single person who commits murder is put to death but rather to ensure the innocent are not.

    Jess (c21991)


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