Associated Press – Lies of Omission

How many times have you read something in the common news media (most notably the ‘news briefs’ or summaries) where you just know there is more to the story than is being told?  In fact, you are left with the feeling that the story is only half told and there are details so conspicuously missing that the press may as well have not reported it all. 

Such is the case with story #1 below.  It’s an Associated Press short (delivered via ABC News) which reports little beyond its actual title.  It reports the incident standalone, as though this man were sentenced to 35 years for some sort of isolated incident.  If you just read that alone, you tend to go: whoa — wait a minute, that’s a pretty harsh sentence for spitting. Especially since (in general) HIV is not known to be transmitted via saliva.

However, if you read the local news sources (see #2), the title is nearly identical, but it tells a much different story. The man in question has a history of spitting at cops and also a prison record where he has a history of biting other inmates.  It also points out that the man used his HIV as an weapon by verbally announcing he had AIDS before he spit on the officer.  That’s intent and that’s a different story completely. Perhaps not a bad sentence after all!  Although there might an argument in favor of placing this person in an institution for the criminally insane for 35 years rather than regular prison.  But the point is: The mainstream media lies with lies of omission and this is a classic example.

1) HIV-Positive Man Sentenced 35 Years for Spitting at Officer

2) HIV-positive man gets 35 years for spitting on Dallas police officer

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