Blog note, Criminal Justice, Featured

Silverman: Let’s look at how CNN produced death penalty documentary

The Nathan Dunlap episode of Death Row Stories was good. It could have been great. All CNN had to do was play its explosive footage of Governor John Hickenlooper’s lame duck clemency assurances.

CNN deliberately buried its lead, the news, and the show itself. Why else air this Colorado story during the Broncos’ season opener?

1993 was vividly brought back to life with archival footage and interviews with victims’ families, responding law enforcers, and former Governor Bill Ritter, who back then, was Denver DA. My old boss got tons more air time than Hick. Current Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler and State Rep. Rhonda Fields were other stars of the show. So was Bobby Stephens, the surviving victim, who is so strong and resolute.

It was nice to see footage of Jim Peters, the late Arapahoe County DA, and his fellow prosecutor Eva Wilson. They were right there when Dunlap went wild at sentencing, cursing victims and the court, and because there were cameras in that courtroom, we got to watch that last Sunday night on CNN.

Susan Sarandon narrated. Robert Redford executive produced. Governor Hickenlooper may have thought he was the star of the show when he hosted CNN in his office on February 6, 2014 but Hick ended up all over the cutting room floor. Listen to what Hick said and you’ll know why.

icon_blog_noteCNN was editing its work even in late August because inserted into the documentary was a headline about John Hickenlooper coming out against capital punishment . CNN aired a screen grab of KDVR Fox 31’s August 18, 2014 headline, “Hickenlooper offers new anti-death penalty stance.”

That’s strange. Redford, Sarandon, and CNN knew Hick condemned capital punishment to CNN more than six months prior. By last Sunday, CNN had to know about the lame duck clemency controversy which had erupted when, with thanks to Todd Shepherd, the full Hickenlooper – CNN sound was aired August 23, 2014 on The Craig Silverman Show.

CNN is unwilling to supply more ammunition for killer TV ads against its anti-death penalty ally. So what if it’s news. This is CNN. That lame duck clemency footage is being protected like a big state secret.

Audio hurts. Video kills.


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