[Vision2020] Shaming and blaming

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Mon May 9 04:43:47 PDT 2016

Courtesy of today's (May 9, 2016) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with thanks to Jim Weddell of Pullman.

Letter: Shaming and blaming
What doesn't the Daily News grasp about the harm done by shaming and blaming abused persons? Following its coverage of the University of Idaho's sexual assault awareness event, the paper published two character assassinations of the keynote speaker and her family, both by her convicted abuser's public mouthpiece.
The paper was under no journalistic burden to publish the first attack piece in its news space. The second attack, as a letter to the editor, was just piling on. Because both pieces were published, the paper should have used its own editorial space to side with the people who were abused.
The facts are known to the Daily News, since it covered the original abuse story. These facts can be twisted and obfuscated, as the perpetrator's defender/pastor does very well, but knowing the facts, the paper has an obligation to help bring clarity to the issues.
When the story first broke, the pastor and institutions and people surrounding him chose to support the perpetrator and to deny comfort and aid to the people who most needed it. The pastor, on behalf of the church elders, wrote to the father of the abused child, saying:
"Although we believe the sins were very different [comparing the abuser's crimes to the father's parenting], we also wanted to let you know that we have considered whether or not we should suspend you from the Supper for your dereliction of your duties as a father." (https://goo.gl/FgEuHD)
Is there any way to read this as other than threatening, non-supportive and minimizing the abuse?
As Leonard Pitts urged journalists when he was here. "You have to stand up, when you see stuff that isn't right." (Daily News, Feb. 19). And not enable it.
Jim Weddell, Pullman

Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares"
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

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