Tag Archives: Post-Dispatch

Journalists Jump to Conclusions Re: Tom Schweich’s Death

Unlike so many who work as journalists, I refuse to label two recent and much-publicized deaths in the Show-Me State as suicides until those in charge of investigating those deaths make such declarations public.

Thomas A. "Tom" Schweich and Robert "Spence" Jackson

During the past four days, I’ve written and published three articles related to the tragic deaths of Tom Schweich, 54, a second-term Missouri state auditor and declared Republican candidate for governor Feb. 26, and his official spokesperson, Robert “Spence” Jackson, 44, only 30 days later. In the most recent article, I revealed two facts other media outlets have, thusfar, failed to share with their audiences.

First, I shared a statement received via email Monday from Dr. Mary E. Case, St. Louis County’s chief medical examiner. Among other things, she explained that the autopsy, including complete toxicology testing, is complete. She did not, however, say that the death had been ruled a suicide.

Second, I shared a statement received from Clayton (Mo.) Police Chief Kevin Murphy. In an email message about the investigation into Schweich’s death Monday, he wrote, “Currently, the investigation is not closed.” As was the case with Dr. Case, Chief Murphy did not say that the death had been ruled a suicide.

Many in the local, state and national news media, however, have been quick to gloss over the fact no one in any official capacity to make such a statement has said definitively that Schweich committed suicide. [FYI: I have yet to look into the matter of whether any such official statement has been issued regarding Jackson’s death.]

Click on image above to link to article.

Click on image above to link to article.

The most recent in-state example appeared in the Sedalia Democrat April 3. One didn’t have to read beyond the headline of a column by Bob Satnan to see that the editors at the central Missouri newspaper were comfortable publishing a statement not backed up by anyone authorized to confirm it:  Lessons to be learned from 2 suicides.

Click on image above to link to article.

Click on image above to link to article.

Virginia Young of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch waited until the seventh paragraph of her April 1 Political Fix column, but she still used the “S” word without its use substantiated by anyone in an official capacity.

Media outlets outside of the state have done the same thing.

The “S” word appeared in the headline and first paragraph of an April Fools Day piece, Two Suicides Rock Missouri Politics, in The Daily Beast. Notably, the piece was written by Missouri’s own Eli Yokely. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he should have known better than to use the term without official confirmation.

The “S” word also appeared in the subhead of Luke Brinker‘s March 30 piece in Salon and in the first paragraph of Stacy Hatton‘s March 24 piece in The Huffington Post.

Perhaps things have changed inside journalism school classrooms during the 30-plus years since I received my degree in the subject. I do know, however, that I would have received a failing grade had I used the word, suicide, without verifying it by way of an official report and attributing that verification to the individual or agency that provided it. Until such verification is provided by someone authorized to offer it, I will use terms such as alleged, apparent, possible and suspect in front of the the word, suicide.

Stay tuned for more updates. To see previous articles on this topic, click here.

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Bob McCarty’s Weekly Recap: Dec. 14-20

After sharing my weekly recap one week ago today, another piece of news arrived unexpected via my Facebook page. I shared it under the headline, The National Bet ‘Thoroughly Engrossing Crime Thriller’. Then I went about covering a plethora of news, ranging from the arrest of an FBI agent to agreeing with a slick-talking Democrat. Below is recap of the past seven days at BobMcCarty.com:

Click on image above to order a copy of The National Bet.

Click on image above to order a copy of The National Bet.

Sunday, Dec. 14 — While spending most of the day working on my next book, I did find time to read a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article concerning the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and share the following observations about it on my Facebook page: Like most in the news media, the Post-Dispatch ignores the fact that Nancy Pelosi and many others in Congress APPROVED THE USE OF THE CIA INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES that have been in the news this month. According to the documents obtained by JudicialWatch.org, the CIA briefed at least 68 members of Congress on the CIA interrogation program, including so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” between 2001 and 2007. The documents include the dates of all congressional briefings and, in some cases, the members of Congress in attendance and the specific subjects discussed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who previously denied she was briefed by the CIA on the use of these techniques, is specifically referenced in a briefing that took place on April 24, 2002, regarding the “ongoing interrogations of Abu Zubaydah.” Details at http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-obtains-documents-regarding-congressional-cia-torture-briefings/.

Monday, Dec. 15 — After news broke about a hostage standoff in Sydney, Australia, I used my Facebook page again to remind folks of a deadly shooting which received very little news coverage beyond the local outlets after it took place Sept. 11, 2011, at a bus station in Springfield, Mo. I reported on the shooting several times, but the story, Was It “Sudden Jihad Syndrome” or Something Else, sums things up pretty well.

Tuesday, Dec. 16 — I shared news about the arrest of an FBI agent only weeks after he was accused of witness tampering. It’s the latest news from the Oklahoma City Bombing trial going on now in Salt Lake City. In addition, I gave a retired Navy admiral a Facebook pat on the back for his opinion piece that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Wednesday, Dec. 17 — I began the day by sharing my unique angle related to the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. I followed that with a mid-day appearance on The Scott Horton Show, a popular libertarian radio program. Later that day, I reluctantly had to call out one of the Fox News Channel‘s most popular hosts. Find out why by reading my post, Note to Megyn Kelly: No Need For So Much Hype.

Thursday, Dec. 18 — After telling my Facebook friends how strange it felt to receive an email message from one of my U.S. senators — with whom I disagree on almost everything — about the recent passage of a $1.1 trillion cromnibus spending package, I decided to share the opening paragraphs of that message and see if they could guess who sent it before I revealed the sender’s name. Read the details at Which United States Senator Sent This Message? In a same-day updates on my Facebook page, I also shared a link to ‘That Others May Live,” an excerpt from my first crime-fiction novel, The National Bet.

Friday, Dec. 19 — I spent most of the day working on the outline for another fiction book idea that came to mind after reading an unusual news article. Still, I managed to squeeze in some snark on my Facebook page after reading a Navy Times article: I have no personal experience with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. That said, this article seems to indicate there is a problem within NCIS. Perhaps, they’re trying to catch up with the Army. More info at http://ThreeDaysInAugust.com.

Saturday, Dec. 20 — I continue working on the book idea mentioned in the Friday paragraph above.

FYI:  Perhaps, I’m biased, but I think my books make excellent Christmas gifts. Ordering info appears below!

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

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