The Press: Trial by Headline

CAPTURE CLOSES REIGN OF TERROR! shrieked Texas' Austin American (circ. 34,714) over a story reporting that a 23-year-old soldier from Fort Hood, 70 miles north of Austin, had been charged with rape. Crowed the paper's Page One account: "A textbook case of cooperation between law enforcement agencies." Last week, after whooping up the story for a month, the morning American and its afternoon sister, the Statesman (28,238), provided a textbook case of how publicity-hungry law officers and overeager newspapers can conduct an inflammatory trial by headline.

Austin was awakened to its reign of terror by a hair-raising story in the Sunday American-Statesman...

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