There’s been a lot said regarding the extensive media coverage of the Rafferty trial; specifically that it’s too graphic. Even I cringe at some of the tweets coming from the two CBC Reporters who are inside the courtroom; the summary of Terri-Lynne McLintic’s testimony about her actions in Tori Stafford’s murder… the way she describes turning away while the accused allegedly committed sexual assault. That part made me hate twitter, and yet…
I understand why it’s covered so extensively. Much of what McLintic has said was previously under a publication ban, and from that standpoint no matter how despicable and hateful the details it’s news. We journalists wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t at least report on it. To their credit that’s what the two CBC reporters are doing; summarizing the testimony in 140 character bursts. It’s how I’ve been following the trial; I haven’t been able to bring myself to read the print coverage.
There’s a human need to understand, to try and figure out the puzzle; to ask how. How can someone ignore an innocent little girl’s cries for help as Rafferty allegedly sexually assaulted her. How can someone knowingly abuse, and eventually kill another person as Mclintic now testifies she did? Where was the compassion as they kidnapped, then killed Tori Stafford?
In an effort to understand, reporters, and columnists are often driven to go deeper into the details; to analyze and speculate on those questions. In a trial like this it can get extremely uncomfortable for the viewer/reader/listener. If Journalists didn’t at least try to provide some understanding; we wouldn’t be doing our job. And we probably would be getting just as much flack for that too.