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Bail Reformers Blame Biased Media Coverage For Public Opinion Flip

Prison cells
Courtesy of Pixabay

A report from a progressive reform group blames biased media coverage for a rollback in New York’s bail reform laws.

The group FWD.us plotted public opinion of bail reform after it passed in the summer of 2019 and just after it took effect in January 2020. Then they detailed dozens of news stories about bail reform that the group considered inaccurate, dehumanizing or dependent solely on law enforcement sources.

Even though reforms had barely taken effect, public opinion on the issue flipped from 55% approving to only 37%.

In a case study, the report cites Newsday for a story that incorrectly linked bail reform as the reason a man with three DWI convictions was released and then involved in another drunk driving incident. In actuality, it was the judge’s and prosecutor’s discretion that allowed the man to be released.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.