the marshall project newsletter
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- posted January 10, 2021
Bogert was previously deputy executive director at Human Rights Watch, running its award-winning global media operations. What’s been consistent, though, from 2014 to now, is the inability of a bipartisan coalition of justice reformers to pass through even modest federal legislation in the face of opposition from Republican hardliners. When he talked about “superpredators,” that made national news, too. “Young killers remain well-publicized rarity,” a Tribune headline said in February 1998. The author, a young academic named John DiIulio, Jr., warned of a coming wave of remorseless teen killers. They planned to show the court their receipt for the soup and explain to the judge that Ms. Ellis is a vegan and never eats meat of any kind, much less a hot dog. Cohen: You mean aside from the time we misspelled the name of our boss, Marshall Project President Carroll Bogert? “I never, ever said what he accused me of saying,” Biden protested. It was probably the greater availability of guns, making fights and gang rivalries among kids more lethal than before, said Franklin Zimring, a Berkeley law school professor. His mentor as a graduate student at Harvard, the influential political scientist James Q. Wilson, had been warning for years about a new breed of conscience-less teen killers. Ended on 08/01/2020. By the end of the decade, the sharp decline in juvenile crime could no longer be ignored. ), By the late 1990s, the “superpredator” mania was dying down. “The media believed in the rhetoric. Every one of us at The Marshall Project … It’s like holding up a Dixie Cup to a firehose. Juvenile arrests for murder—and juvenile crime generally—had already started falling when DiIulio’s article was published. By 2000, when tens of thousands more children were supposed to be out there mugging and killing, juvenile murder arrests had fallen by two-thirds. And then there’s Bill Keller gently editing it in the morning and finally producer Yolanda Martinez making sure both Bill and I haven’t messed things up too badly before it's emailed. “If we don’t acknowledge the impact of what past stories did," said law professor Taylor-Thompson, "I’m not sure the media’s behavior will change.”. At the end of Denver’s media-driven “summer of violence” panic in 1993, Gov. $3,265 . Support The Marshall Project (a Not a Newsletter Fundraiser) Give $10 to The Marshall Project, and I'll send you my guide to 25 ways to grow your email list. The Internet allows us to do that and the truth is that there is almost every day incredible coverage of criminal justice from news organizations you might not have heard of (like The Walrus, Isthmus, and the Dothan Eagle) or those you wouldn’t expect to feature criminal justice, like Architectural Digest, Playboy, Runners World and Variety. The notion of “superpredators” appeared early and often in editorials and columns in the Chicago Tribune. And it caught on.”. Dan. Read past years' reports: 2019, 2018 and 2017. My first story when I left my law firm was the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh. “I hated that term,” Lythcott says now. The Marshall Project: First, introduce yourself to readers who only know you as the maestro of Opening Statement. From the moment the term was born, 25 years ago this month, “superpredator” had a game-changing potency, derived in part from the avalanche of media coverage that began almost immediately. Many newspapers began running stories about how “superpredators” had failed to appear – including the Chicago Tribune, which had earlier championed the theory. “I feel like I was convicted through the media.”, “The reaction was, the way to stop this crime problem is to hit ‘em hard,” said Don Wycliff, then the editor of the Chicago Tribune editorial pages. $1,735 / 94 donors. While there is no record of Biden using the phrase, much of the harsh anti-crime legislation embraced by both parties in the 1990s continues to be a hot-button issue to this day. According to one study, at the beginning of the decade, the three national news networks ran fewer than 100 crime stories a year on their nightly news broadcasts. LynNell Hancock is professor emerita at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. I have to read, or at least skim, hundreds of stories each day about criminal justice to figure out which ones to include in the day’s compilation. Political reporters were dazzled by his legerdemain in stealing a traditionally Republican issue, promising more law enforcement on the streets and tougher penalties for juvenile offenders. the marshall project. Just 10 days after DiIulio’s piece, the editorial board cited him in its argument for bringing back orphanages. By the end of the 1990s, virtually every state had toughened its laws on juveniles: sending them more readily into adult prisons; gutting and sidelining family courts; and imposing mandatory sentences, including life sentences without parole. Inbox Collective LLC. The notion of an impending wave of teenage savagery caught on among criminologists, too. $1,735 by 94 people. $3,265 . On NBC News, a February 1993 segment on “Nightly News” focused on teen killers in the suburbs and rural areas, while one in December 1994 warned of a crime wave as America’s teen population swelled. Although there have been occasional pinch-hitters, the overwhelming majority of those morning newsletters were compiled by Andrew Cohen. The Chicago Tribune devoted its entire op-ed page to reprinting the article that had coined the term “superpredator” in the Weekly Standard. $0 by 0 people. Here we show mentions from 1995 to 1997, when the phrase appeared most often. “It had a profound effect on the way in which judges and prosecutors viewed my clients.”, An academic named John J. DiIulio Jr. coined the term for a November 1995 cover story in The Weekly Standard, a brand-new magazine of conservative political opinion that hit pay dirt with the provocative coverline, “The Coming of the Super-Predators.”, Then a young professor at Princeton University, DiIulio was extrapolating from a study of Philadelphia boys that calculated that 6 percent of them accounted for more than half the serious crimes committed by the whole cohort. Campaign Ended. Syndicated columnists who wrote about “superpredators” were often picked up in local newspapers. The term “superpredator” first appeared in a cover story in The Weekly Standard 25 years ago this month. Source: Non-scientific review of all mentions of "superpredator" and its variations in 40 major U.S. news outlets from 1995 to 2000. Inquiries can be addressed to email@example.com or mailed to: The Marshall Project 156 West 56th Street, Suite 701 New York, NY 10019 212-803-5200 Time magazine put Yummy’s picture on the cover: “So Young To Kill. As the Biden-Trump debates showed, politicians now feel the need to backpedal from the term. Sign up for our daily newsletter covering the best in criminal justice news. After a while you learn which sources of news you can trust, and which you can’t, and we try to get in as many news stories and commentaries as we can. Inbox Collective LLC. Ended on 08/01/2020. John DiIulio defined the word “superpredator” on CBS News in April of 1996. “It seemed to explain a lot of things.”, The Chicago Tribune would later publish exceptional work uncovering years of police abuse and misconduct by local prosecutors. $0 / 0 donors. How do you do that? In Chicago, gruesome murders by children rocked the city in the early 1990s, including the case of Robert Sandifer, an 11-year-old whose love for cookies earned him the nickname “Yummy.” He was being sought for the murder of a 14-year-old girl in late summer 1994, when he was himself murdered by brothers Cragg and Derrick Hardaway, ages 16 and 14. Roy Romer pushed through an “iron-fist” overhaul of Colorado’s juvenile justice system. He blamed these chronic offenders on “moral poverty … the poverty of being without loving, capable, responsible adults who teach you right from wrong.”. The “superpredator” theory, besides being a racist trope, was not borne out in crime statistics. The best criminal justice reporting from around the web, organized by subject. But to paraphrase Mark Twain, the truth was still putting on its shoes while the “superpredators” ran out the door. “How did these ideas get supported and weaponized throughout the decades? But who was doing the dehumanizing? News outlets that once focused on telling their readers the basic facts now felt they had to explain, in the words of one of Newsweek’s advertising slogans, “Why it happened. A compromise failed in 2016, and it appears to be in jeopardy now. (“I didn’t go to Harvard,” DiIulio told one interviewer. Here’s a Q&A with the editor. Hillary Clinton used the term “superpredators” in a speech at Keene State College in Keene, N.H., in 1996. What it means.”, In January 1996, the magazine asked in a headline, “‘Superpredators’ Arrive: Should we cage the new breed of vicious kids?” (Full disclosure: We both worked at Newsweek in the 1990s, and regret not protesting its crime coverage at the time.). Usually, by noon I have a sense of what the next morning’s “featured” stories are going to be, whether they are Marshall Project originals or the work of others. “They place zero value on the lives of their victims, whom they reflexively dehumanize as just so much worthless ‘white trash,’" he wrote. is president of The Marshall Project. Support The Marshall Project (a Not a Newsletter Fundraiser) Give $10 to The Marshall Project, and I'll send you my guide to 25 ways to grow your email list. But he admits: “It struck a nerve. Superpredators.”. Inbox Collective LLC. Welcome to the October edition of the Marshall Creek Project Newsletter! $3,265 by 184 people. Before I became a litigator I was a student journalist at Boston University. “The term ‘superpredator’ has become, I guess, part of the lexicon,” he told NPR in the summer of 1996. The theory spread quickly through the media. Our fourth annual diversity report. This seems like a suitable occasion for a peek behind the curtain. Of the 281 media mentions of “superpredators” we found from 1995 to 2000, more than three in five used the term without questioning its validity. the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh, Marshall Project President Carroll Bogert, a sense of how criminal justice issues were covered, the administration’s separation of families at the border, a bipartisan coalition of justice reformers to pass through even modest federal legislation. Sometimes the term appeared in opinion columns addressing other subjects, with "superpredator" mentioned only in passing. “I don’t recall a lot of persuasive dissenting voices at that time.”. Just a few years before, the news media had introduced the terms “wilding” and “wolf pack” to the national vocabulary, to describe five teenagers—four Black and one Hispanic—who were convicted and later exonerated of the rape of a woman in New York’s Central Park. In these records you will find the most recent and the most authoritative articles on the topics, people and events that are shaping the criminal justice conversation. Dan Oshinsky. “What can I say?” Wycliff said. The Marshall Project does not endorse the viewpoints or vouch for the accuracy of reports other than its own. Inbox Collective LLC. Nonprofit journalism about criminal justice, A nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system. $0. As some criminologists explained at the time, what drove juvenile homicides in the 1990s wasn’t a new breed of violent teens. “There were top editors who had never been to the South Side of Chicago,” she remembers. The Trump presidency, for all its focus on fear and “American carnage” has barely slowed that momentum. A reporter broadcasts while police give orders for crowds to disperse in West Baltimore after the 2015 funeral of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. We're a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. They come from news outlets of all shapes and sizes. The record doesn’t show then-President Bill Clinton using the word “superpredator,” but Hillary Clinton did as first lady. (DiIulio’s wife said he was not available for comment for this article due to ill health.). A Belfast perspective on news, sport, what's on, lifestyle and more, from your local paper the Belfast News Letter. The best way to accomplish that was to at least try to be as inclusive as possible, not just in terms of politics and ideology but also geography. “‘Superpredators’ fail to grow into forecast proportions.”, In 2001, DiIulio admitted his theory had been mistaken, saying ''I'm sorry for any unintended consequences.” In 2012, he even signed on to a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting a successful effort to limit life sentences without parole for juveniles. Cohen: The initial idea behind Opening Statement was to create a daily conversation among people interested in criminal justice in America. Was not available for comment for this article was published in partnership with idea ’! The other hand, what ’ s like holding up a Dixie Cup to firehose... A generation of young men of color as animals and paving the way harsher. But this, too: Gov imagery was already in the conversation, ” said Kim Taylor-Thompson, young! 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