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Man accused of killing mother in drug dispute  

It was originally stated he killed her over pot. Now the truth is that he was on a physc drug


After reading this story “Man accused of killing mother in drug dispute” by the Associated Press (AP) published in Tuesday’s (1/2/05) Chronicle, I wondered if there might be more to the story than the AP let on.  Being a skeptical person I searched the internet for more information on this story. 


The article quotes the sheriff, Lupe Trevino, saying "He was mad at his mom because his mom flushed his drugs (down the toilet)." According to the McAllen Monitor ( link ), the rest of the quote is "It was the straw that broke his camel’s back." The quote seems to indicate that the police believe there is more to this than just a young man angry at his mother for flushing his drugs.  The AP also left out that this young man had an extensive criminal record, quoting from the McAllen Monitor again,  the young man had “outstanding warrants for his arrests — two for revocation of probation, one for an aggravated robbery and another for a misdemeanor theft.” 


Lying by omission is deliberate omission of necessary information for understanding. This causes confusion and erroneous conclusions.    I don’t know if this was deliberate lying but if it wasn’t it is lazy journalism.   The young man’s criminal history is public record and is easily checked.  Since the first part of the quote in both articles is word for word the same, I have a tendency to believe that the last part of the quote was deliberately left off. 


The AP is also engaging in headline manipulation.  The headline “Man accused of killing mother in drug dispute” tends to make the reader think the mother and son were both engaged in some kind of drug deal gone bad.  “24-year-old confesses to murdering his mother” leads the reader to no such assumption. 

So why so much difference in the stories?  If the AP was doing a service to the public the story would have been pretty much the same in both versions.   Which brings me to wonder, is the AP is accepting money from the United States Justice Department to sensationalize drugs stories to make people afraid and bolster the opinion of the drug war?  I wouldn’t be surprised as the recent stories about Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, and others show that some journalists and  government are often quick to throw out their ethics and lie to the public.


Tammera Halphen


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