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Hall Shame

KCCI-TV News-Des Moines

by Catherine Frakas 29 Feb 2008

KCCI-TV Channel 8, the CBS affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa. is supposedly ranked the top local Newscast in the United States. I am not sure what that means. I know that in at least one of the self-promos for the News Team the station broadcasts refer to the News Anchors as stars. Stars is a showbiz term not a journalism term. The sensational, the provocative, the controversial trumps truth and accurate news reporting. A most recent example was a report January 31, 2008 on KCCI-TV about wanted sex offenders who had not registered. A police official was interviewed who said the oft repeated lie that sex offenders have a very high recidivism. Here is the letter to KCCI on January 31st:
Dear Folks: I watched your sex offender story this evening. I noticed that you interviewed a gentleman who said that even with sex offender therapy that recidivism is high among sex offenders. This is patently untrue as study after study after study has shown for more than forty years. According to the U.S. Department of Justice Statistics* of those child molesters released in 1994 3.3 percent were re-arrested for another sex crime as opposed to 67.5 percent of criminals of other crimes. While sex offenders are more likely than non-sex offenders to commit another sex crime (which I am sure is true of other crimes too–a drug dealer is probably more likely than non-drug dealers to commit another drug offense), the Justice department says Sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for any offense 43 percent of sex offenders versus 68 percent of non-sex offenders. Studies like this have been done periodically for nearly 40 years. Similar results have been found each time. While even one sex offender re-offending is one too many, it is a urban myth encouraged by uninformed law enforcement and fueled by the media that sex offenders have the highest recidivism and will almost certainly re-offend. It just simply is not true. As a news agency you have a responsibility to present new accurately and not allow interviewees to make erroneous statement unchallenged. *U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Criminal Offender Statistics, at (originally accessed March 31, 2004, re-accessed January 31, 2008 Please check these facts and do the research and report it accurately.
We have yet to receive a reply and as far as we know there has been no newscast to report the truth about sex offender recidivism. For unprofessionalism in journalism and ignoring the truth, allowing the public to believe these untruths, and failing to take responsibility for their actions and correct the breach of the virtue of truth we add KCCI-TV to our Hall of Shame. KCCI-TV 888 9th St. Des Moines, Iowa 50309 (515) 247-8888 KCCI-TV is owned by: Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. 300 West 57th Street New York, NY 10019-3789 Tel: (212) 887-6800 Fax: (212) 887-6855 Contact Webform

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