JonBenet‘s accJohn Mark Karrused killer John Mark Karr  — or is the more proper term “confessor killer” — has already been drawn and quartered in the court of public opinion by the mainstream media vested to protect the public interest.

How did things go wrong so quickly and why does the media feed such a bloodthirst for information about a man who — guilty or not — is obviously not right in his mind or comfortable in his body even if he did he killing or even if he just thinks he did the killing?

In America, the notoriously accused are deemed the most guilty by associations created by the media even before being charged in the legal system.

The mainstream media opinion makers appear to live for guilt by insinuation. That must make for thrilling reporting but it makes lousy television and reading.

Like a bully in a 24/7 pulpit, the mainstream media charged, found guilty and, frankly, executed John Mark Karr by Menu during his 15 hour flight from Thailand to Los Angeles:

Before take-off, Mr Karr took a glass of champagne from a flight attendant and clinked glasses with Mr Spray, who sipped orange juice. Dinner on board, served on a white tablecloth with silverware, was one many passengers would envy. Mr Karr started with a pate, then had a green salad with walnut dressing.

The main course was fried king prawn with steamed rice and broccoli, followed by a slice of Valrhona chocolate cake for dessert. Mr Karr drank a beer, crushing the can with his hands when it was empty, then moved on to a glass of French chardonnay with his main course. He later dined on roast duck with soy sauce and yellow noodles, and for his third meal quickly ate a piece of pizza served with chocolates and a bottle of Evian.

Is what John Mark Karr ate on an airplane important to the telling of his story? When did chocolate cake become newsworthy and why is frosting not important enough to report? Is the fact he ate King Prawn more damning than if he’d nibbled melba toast and half a teaspoon of jam? Can justice be divined in the blocks of the food pyramid? We were told his menu — over and over and over again — to excite us, to push our buttons, to condemn him in our minds before he landed on American soil again.

We were urged to think dark thoughts by those who claim by inference to be smarter and more beautiful and more liberal than us: “You work hard for pennies and eat fast food, while an unemployed killer eats roast duck with soy sauce!” I wonder if anyone in the mainstream media suggested John Mark Karr was committing suicide with that high-fat, low fiber airplane food? Why did no one fight to have his fork taken away in the best interests of justice?

Also during the flight, Mr Karr had a Dan Brown novel for reading material and watched The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise. He dozed on and off, and two guards accompanied him on several trips to the bathroom, each time leaving the door slightly ajar.

Why is no one condemning Mr. Karr’s taste in books and the cinema? Surely he leaves the mark of a conspiracy theorist in his reading habit and he expressed an unhealthy want for a return to the old ways of an ancient hierarchical society in his movie selection. When will the media finally make a Karr-Al Queada connection?

Does his dozing suggest a clear conscious or a hiding from a guilty mind? Why didn’t we get a report on the content of the deposit Mr. Karr left behind in the airplane lavatory? Would a Poop Report be too salacious even for MSNBC to breathlessly tease us with throughout the day? Why didn’t we get urine analysis in blue toilet water?

Do we not have the inalienable right to know the patterns of John Mark Karr’s digestive tract? Doesn’t constipation directly link to state-of-mind? Why didn’t the Press demand an on-board video colonoscopy? The ratings would have been huge!

At one point, he changed out of the red shirt and tie, replacing them with a blue polo, but then changed back into the shirt and tie before the landing.

Can we take common comfort in knowing Mr. Karr understands airplane-appropriate fashion attire? I know I feel safer Mr. Karr knows when to wear a tie and when to not.


  1. I just hope he pleads guilty if he really is so.
    Reasonable Doubt could surely get him off otherwise – not to mention how hard it would be to get a jury of completely unbiased peers.

  2. Hi Gordon!
    Well, Karr already said he’s guilty, right?
    It’s the D.A.’s job not to merely accept a confession by a confessor, but to prove that the confession is based in fact and not fancy.
    I read in the news today Karr allegedly confessed in California five years ago to killing JonBenet and nothing came of it then.
    The foreign DNA found in JonBenet’s panties after hear death should tell us what we need to know about Karr’s truth telling.

  3. The reason why the DA is always saying that people need to hold off on making judgments is that Karr might not be the person who did the crime.
    From the Globe and Mail:

    “We should all heed the poignant advice of John Ramsey,” Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy said, quoting the little girl’s father.
    “Do not jump to conclusions, do not rush to judgment, do not speculate. Let the justice system take its course.”

    If Karr isn’t the killer, but goes away because he has some obsession with the case and confesses, then justice hasn’t been done.
    If he is guilty, then we will all feel better knowing that the DA double-checked the evidence to ensure justice was properly served.
    I wonder what will happen in the media if it turns out that Karr isn’t the one and he’s just suffering from mental illness?
    What if Christmas pictures turn up showing he was in Georgia during the time the crime occurred?
    I heard on the news that the DA had to rush this case because of concerns that the media had found out about Karr.
    It’s too bad the media couldn’t have held off for a little while to let the investigators build their case without the influence of a hundred media cameras and microphones chasing potential witnesses.

  4. I guess it was a slow news day – or they needed a break from “war weariness”.
    I am sure this type of coverage inevitably “prejudices” the trial – and ultimately any “justice” .

  5. Hi David,
    Regarding the DNA found in the underwear.
    I heard some discussion on a talking-head show that DNA could contaminate the underwear during the manufacturing process. Evidently, the investigators tested a pair of underwear of the same kind bought new at a store and found contamination.
    However, if Karr’s DNA is on the underwear, that would be pretty solid evidence.

  6. Chris! I appreciate your voice of legal reason on this matter. We have a sound and reasonable system of justice in this nation that was hard-won and deserves patience and respect.
    However, when the media — with its 24-hour cacophony of coverage of the latest threat to our “safety” –- is in “hot pursuit” of news that will win them ratings and advertising dollars in the marketplace, it hurts not only the necessary legal presumption of innocence in a case like Karr’s, but it also damages those in the system who may have similar cases pending.
    I think it will be troubling if there is third party evidence — images, video — that demonstrate Karr was with his family when JonBenet was killed as his family currently claims.
    The first I heard about this “breaking news” was an interview with John Ramsey — an MSNBC “exclusive” and they were the first network to break the story — where Ramsey “revealed” the existence of a suspect in Thailand. Suspect indeed!
    Did you know John Ramsey was born in Lincoln, Nebraska?

  7. Nicola!
    How right you are about the news people getting weary of the Middle East. It is a ratings-loser. Child Pageants and their pedophiles must equal big ratings!
    MSNBC has a big “Karr Site” where you can drown in the dreary speculation. Here’s the latest:

    A lawyer for Karr’s relatives says a photo has been located showing Karr’s three sons at a 1996 Christmas dinner gathering in Atlanta.
    Lawyer Gary Harris said Karr’s father, Wexford Karr, found the photo, and relatives are certain that if the sons were there, John Karr would have been, too. He told The Washington Post and The Denver Post that the photo is from 1996 because an infant pictured in it was born in December of that year.

  8. Chris —
    JonBenet’s panties were manufactured… in Thailand!
    That was a big news story for about a half a day until reporters finally realized it was unlikely that had anything to do with Karr even though it sounded like it did.
    I agree the DNA in her panties could be from anywhere. I also hear rumblings that if the DNA in her panties does not match Karr — the D.A. won’t “clear” Karr — the D.A. will likely say something like “the panties DNA was so degraded we could not use it…” and then another prosecutorial angle will be divined against Karr since he’s the only card they have now they let their hand show too early.
    My feeling is the killer of JonBenet is already dead.

  9. Hi David,
    I remember hearing Roe Conn on WLS talking with WLS-TV’s Ron Majers on Wednesday about the ABC network announcing in the radio station’s control room that major news was set for later in that hour and that there was information about a possible arrest in the Jon Benet case.
    The story aired around 3:20 p.m. or so — the only reason I remember the time is that Roe said the network was going to break in at that time with their special report.
    This lead Roe to speak about his days working for a television news organization.
    He spoke of the day when he was working and news came of the downing of the Pan Am flight in Lockerbie. Roe told his radio audience he was trying to get information about the victims.
    Networks were reporting all sorts of different figures on the number of victims.
    Roe was monitoring another network and saw their figures were higher than the information their network had obtained.
    About that time, according to Roe’s account on his show, an older coworker came over and told him not to worry if they weren’t keeping up with the body count reported by other media outlets.
    The seasoned news veteran told Roe: “You can’t take bodies off the board.”
    The network had to be careful to not let the rush to be first interfere with their accuracy. It was far worse to be first with an inaccurate death toll, than to be second to report accurate information.
    The same thing is in play here.
    Everyone is rushing to be first without considering what might happen if the facts turn out to be different than what we’re expecting.

  10. Chris —
    You make an excellent point. There used to be a time in the non-cable news when facts mattered.
    When the World Trade Center was first hit the first reports on the local NYC news was that 70,000 people had perished.
    Then the number was quickly revised in that 70,000 people go in and out of the building every day and that 50,000 workers had been killed.
    Then the number dropped to 35,000.
    Then 13,000.
    Finally it stayed at 3,500 for several days until the final 2,752 number was reached. It was a terrible and horrifying time because no one knew anything and there weren’t a lot of bodies to count. You had to wait awhile for people to not show up.
    There were many families who, for many weeks, felt their beloved ones where in hospitals or wandering the streets with amnesia after being struck in the head. When there weren’t really any survivors in the collapse it became painfully clear no one was lost and no one was coming home.
    If Karr is cleared by the D.A. in the JonBenet case I cannot wait for the day when the news media pats themselves on their backs and says, “See? The system works! They couldn’t have done it without us.”

  11. Hi David,
    No matter how it turns out, I foresee at least a season’s worth of Dateline NBC special reports about the topic with repeats on MSNBC.

  12. Tonight, on a special Dateline NBC report!
    Cue spooky music.
    Pan to view of stuffed animal on front porch stoop.
    John Mark Karr at Your Front Door!
    Breathlessly spoken:
    Could your house be next!?!?
    Cue Dateline theme
    Don’t miss this Dateline NBC report that might just save you and your family!
    Sponsered with limited commercial interruptions by the fine folks at NetNanny Parental Control Software and Smith & Wesson.

  13. Love it, Chris!
    I’m sure NBC will be offended at your satiric send-up because just like sitcom writers, they feel what they do is as important and as everlasting as Shakespeare. That’s why the news and media outlets slammed Stephen Colbert so hard for his mocking of their cherished vices.

  14. When the primetime TV news program producers complain, just ask:
    Which television news program put rockets in a pickup truck to enhance an explosion video, but failed to mark it as a re-enactment?

  15. Absolutely, Chris!
    It’s interesting how in the “Golden Age” of TV and cinema you actually had to have talent to get a job because there was a lot of competition for slots that were held for decades, not days.
    Today, with 20 news channels instead of 2 and with EVERYONE able to do HD video without having to support the high cost of film and then distribute it over the web instead of traditional movie houses — both industries are cheapened because anyone can play to buy their way in the game.
    There is a loss of excellence because there are too many slots to fill.
    Baseball has the same trouble: Too many mediocre power hitters and not enough excellent pitchers to fill a starting rotation for each team.

  16. Plus, on some cable news channels, there’s nobody watching, unless there’s a HUGE BREAKING NEWS story.
    It gives them an incentive to “spice” up everything to make it seem more important than it really is.

  17. Right, Chris. Too much news that is mediocre means there are more and more opportunities to change the channel to something with relevance and meaning. Like Seinfeld reruns.

  18. Here’s an article published today confirming what I thought yesterday:

    DNA swiped from John Mark Karr after his arrest last week in connection with the JonBenet Ramsey murder might be irrelevant, in part because “something got screwed up” when samples were taken from the crime scene in 1996, a former investigator on the case said.
    Bill Wise, former first assistant with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, said that although DNA “absolutely could be one of the biggest things in the case,” it could also be nothing.
    Some of the DNA taken from the 6-year-old pageant queen’s fingernails and underwear was “degraded,” Wise said. He said the tool used to take samples wasn’t clean.

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