A disturbing symbiosis has arisen during the last decade between the tabloid and low-brow television media and the reading and viewing public, particularly social media public posters on crime-related blogs that follow high-profile trials. A genre of posters has formed into a nationwide virtual lynch mob, prosecuting and condemning defendants years before trials start, ready and chomping at the bit to converge in mass cyberspace hysteria to spit their hate, rage and venom once a defendant’s trial is covered on television. During the period preceding a trial, usually 3 or 4 years, this lynch mob is primed and fueled by newspaper and television media that pump out selectively damning and salacious tidbits, and decontextualized images and sound bites about the defendant, all designed strategically to rile up the interested masses, attract ratings and give credence to their particular brand of muck-rake reporting.
The mob attitude of members of the public who are persuaded and aroused by those elements of the media that target them can only be described as “pitchfork” mentality. The talking heads on television who propagate the kinds of attitudes and beliefs necessary to “convict” a defendant in the “court” of public opinion model this “pitchfork” mentality through a number of court-based and supposedly victim-supportive talk-shows. This is done through a dubious parade of legal, law enforcement and psychological “experts”, commandeered by a nucleus of popular anchors whose journalistic integrity falls shy of association with any true professional standard of ethics. These media mouths regurgitate their chewed over and acid-digested “bombshells” into the gaping beaks of their pap-hungry brood. They are the frontline of the pressing public mob behind them; they wield the largest pitchforks but are backed up by their rallied army wielding no less lethal pitchforks of multiple shapes and sizes.
Both media talking heads and riled up, ranting members of the public screaming for blood are “Pitchforkers” and this blog seeks to explore their methods and motivations, and the damage done to the legal process and to a society that proclaims itself to be intellectually advanced and morally superior.
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