Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Trial by media

21 September 2023

Truth | TV


There used to be a time when you were innocent until proven guilty. This concept was called the presumption of innocence. It makes perfect sense that allegations must be proven because how do you prove your innocence? My 2018 blog is even more relevant due to ongoing trials by media.

Usually, the old Dutch and English saying applies: where there is smoke, there is fire. Still, that fire might be related to (deliberate and intentional) arson. It’s often better to refrain from premature judgement in case of “smoke”.

The new mystery-comedy-drama Only Murders in the Building, featuring Steve MartinMartin Short, and Selena Gomez, is about such trials by media. Its IMDb rating is high: 8.1. After viewing some episodes, I gave it a 7. Still, this show grows on you. My advice: beware of binge-watching.

The plot is quite simple: someone dies in an apartment building. All neighbours claim they didn’t know him. Three neighbours, whose lives are empty, become obsessed with finding out who did it. Their premature accusations are broadcasted through a podcast, called Only Murders in the Building.

A NYC detective complains about people obsessed with true crime shows. In her view, the public should let the police do their job. However, that same police is more interested in closing this death as a suicide than in investigating it. Hence, their podcast becomes an unexpected success.

A similar picture emerges from various countries, in particular the UK and USA. Poorly investigated incidents suddenly get national media attention. The government is forced to act in order to take back control (sic!). The end-result usually is that the media flourishes and the police take another reputational hit.

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

A quote by American statesman Benjamin Franklin. (1706-1790)

Wrapped Around Your Finger (1983) by The Police
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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