What were they thinking?

I've tried to stay away from the NY Times and from Michael Jackson, but the fact that the Times chose this absurd diatribe( brilliantly skewered at has inspired me to violate my policy.

The OpEd, by Kid Crusader Andrew Vachss

is so full of vacuous hyperbole, I'm actually shocked the times published it. Let's enjoy some samples:

Vachss writes that: "pedophilia" was not on trial; a celebrity was." he then continues:

"Does that mean that if a noncelebrity had committed the sex acts alleged in the Jackson trial, he would be facing the endless years of incarceration we were constantly reminded of throughout the proceedings? No. The truth is that a defendant who pleaded guilty would probably have disappeared into the probation-and-treatment maw without a ripple, resurfacing later as a (possibly) registered and (supposedly) rehabilitated ex-offender. Until the next time."

Huh? Pleaded guilty? Is the assumption here that an innocent but poor person would have pled? Or does Vachss, assume that Jackson is guilty and only went to trial because he was a celebrity... Finally to turn this ridiculous rhetorical trick and give it any vague sembleance of truth, Vachss has to assume that this innocent poor person would plead to some lesser unless he thinks Tom Sneddon was going to offer a non-jail sentence to someone he believes to be a serial pedophile.

Next Vachss says this:
"Ask any experienced defense lawyer: the real risks are for an accused person who is innocent. A guilty defendant has many more options available."

What the hell does he even mean? Uh let's see, a guilty guy can plea bargain? Dude, so can an innocent person. A innocent defendant can file motions? Ah, so can a guilty one. Any experienced defense lawyer will tell you that is a ludicrous statement.

Then this:
"The trial of Michael Jackson was a badly scripted melodrama, rendered even more insipid because we could so easily guess the ending."

Um, what shows were you watching? Everyone was predicting a conviction--Fox said it was his last day of freedom, so did CNN and most of the other outlets. So who exactly is the we? And just out of curiosity, I'd really like to see some documented public statement from before the verdict from Mr. Vachss that confidently predicted an acquittal on all ten counts. I dare him or any reader to show me that.

And finally:

"In the months since charges were filed, I have heard people profess intense anguish that Michael Jackson might "get away with it." Each time, I asked these people what other possible miscarriages of justice concerned them, past or present? I asked if they knew that in many states, including New York and California, the penalties for sexual abuse of one's own child are markedly less than those for abusing an unrelated child. I asked each of them if this incest loophole also provoked their outrage; if they were prepared to actually do anything to change such laws. Not one ever answered."

I literally don't have a clue what the point of this paragraph is or what the hell he's talking about. If he's relying on the incest statute, he's not only a buffoon but a stupid one--there is no affirmative defense of family in the NY state penal law in terms of sexual abuse. What that means Andrew, in case you missed it, is that there is an ADDITIONAL crime for sexually abusing your own kids, not a substitute. There is no sex crime that can be perpetrated on a stranger's kid that can't be prosecuted under the same statute when perpetrated on your own--get it? So your entire moronic rant is just factually inaccurate and grossly misleading.

Radosh's response is also worth noting:

In truth I don't know what to make of it--and I have no idea how a piece this bad got into the NYT OpEd page.

Didn't they wonder when they saw the cover of one of his recent books?

1 comment:

radosh said...

Thanks for the shout out. As for confidently predicting acquital on all 10 counts, I don't know about AV, but I won $1 in hard American cash from a co-worker with just such a bet. This may well be because I didn't watch a single minute of the news coverage.