Turning Victims into Saints

Journalists cannot resist recasting crime into a shopworn morality tale

Reporters, like vampires, feed on human blood. Tales of tragedy, mayhem and murder are the daily stuff of front-page headlines and breathless TV newscasts. But journalists rarely restrict their accounts to the sordid, unadorned facts. If the victims of such incidents are sufficiently wealthy, virtuous or beautiful, they are often turned into martyred saints in the epic battle between good and bad. Thus the spectacle of a wounded husband, with a dying pregnant wife at his side, desperately calling for help in a reputedly dangerous Boston neighborhood, inevitably set editors' pulses racing.

The Boston Globe told us that the unfortunate Stuarts...

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