Crime & Justice News

True Crime: The Ethical Paradox

Into the Unknown

Facts do matter. The lack of investment, ethics, standards and guidelines in true crime not only distorts justice… it’s ruining people’s lives

Obviously in true crime, “awareness” is important and getting information out- especially a missing person, but ultimately it’s about getting the proper facts and right information out. Especially from the true crime community. Authors, podcasters, TV shows, etc.

Unfortunately majority of them the content is almost exclusively on theories, “what ifs” and possibilities, even when no such evidence supports it. In reality, it does nothing to help the missing or victims, because theories and conjecture is irrelevant and pure speculation. This creates red herrings, it destroys innocent people’s lives, it misdirects the public’s attention from what is important.

Even worse, shows and bloggers support conspiracy theories, that when there is concrete evidence contradicting bogus theories that have no support, facts and evidence is just written off as planted, tainted or corrupt. Unless there is real evidence of such, then it does nothing but taint the perspective and muddy the waters. In time it can corrupt the public’s view.

Now before everyone thinks this is “bashing” the home bloggers, podcasters and amateur sleuthers; the true crime craze or perhaps this ‘renaissance’ has resulted in corporate or big media podcasts and shows that push ‘alternative theories’ and begins to dilute the truth. The obviously guilty is now suddenly “suspect” because of some theory mixing up truth with fiction is entertaining, but is ripping families and communities apart. At the same time, it has painted suspects and ruined people, because they come off weird or suspect, and these red herrings somehow becomes ‘proof’ and the lynch mob is resurrected.

Sadly, I’d estimate 98% (not scientific, just all the I’ve heard in the last few years)of the true crime community is made up of those either caught up in the craze, and applies The Nancy Grace Effect or The CSI Effect or both, where the satisfaction of an immediate arrest is worth risking a certain conviction. Like a game of “who dun it?”, from the comfort of your own home. True crime podcasts have become, “let’s have a drink and horderves, relax- we’re gonna give you a rundown of a murder off Wikipedia or someone’s work and give ya our take!”

That is not talent. It lacks all seriousness and credibility. A murder, a child’s rape and mutilation is not a format or subject to demonstrate or try your hand at comedy or push politics. You’re an angry person so this gives you something to be angry about. It brings nothing new to these cases- and as for exposure, many peddle nonsense or worse- lend credence, to disproven nonsense.

Very few podcasts and bloggers are actually deep diving into cases, speaking with the family members, reading newspaper in order as it unfolds, speak with former law enforcement, speaking members of the community to get a feel of the time, learning the environment and the impact of these crimes.

That is when you understand the gravity of it all, realize just how serious and real this is. Instead most rely totally on the work of others and “blend” several sources to produce their “shows”. Which is practically theft itself even if the words are not exact or rearranged to appear as a natural thought or view.

Why would people support popular podcasts and blogs who obviously read a reliable blogger or listen to in depth podcasts like “Criminology”, “Already Gone”,Trace Evidence” or “Casefile” (just a few examples, calm down now) and then provide commentary and spruce it up with gimmicks, innuendo and some theme?

People who care, spend time to make sure they get things right, are slapped in the face. I’m sure they wish they could spend all their time chit-chatting about what they think and mocking police work and southern accents.

Now, we’ve spent months and even years digging into just one case or two and by no means is that the standard. I’ve spent sometimes a few hours or a week. The problem is, someone who did nothing. No investment. Never volunteered or spoke with anyone can tell us what out work was, what our motives were and interpret what we actually saw and hear from the people who were there- then set up donations and Patreon. It is absurd and shameful. It would be hard to accuse someone of murder based on nonsense or weak evidence, especially is you looked them in the eye, spoke with them and heard their story and pain.

It is unacceptable. It has made a disgrace of the genre.

The TC culture is so bad, that the families of these popular cases, like Delphi; the murders of Abby and Libby- Kelsi German has to not only grieve for her sister and seek answers, but remind adults not to get caught up in rumors and lynch mob activity. Thanks to folks like Nancy Grace, and fraud and bigot “body language expert” Susan Constantine (whom we are doing an article on shortly), they are free to upend anyone and everyone, because it is disguise as a good cause.

Today ,with as much junk that is out there, there is little in the way to check their claims or even their sources, even when you do,- their fans are vicious and rabid ready to go all the way to destroy you. Even though their “favorite” shows are factually challenged and dishonest. If you do say anything, you’re at risk of attack from a very angry fanbase, who not only are already caught up in The Grace and/or CSI Effect, but now dumbed down to believe that some murder or kidnapping is simple to solve, “we can do it drunk from the safety of our home, while police twiddle their thumbs”.

That is the conduct of the amateurs and what more could you expect? Until there are standards and those committed to what true crime is really about- the truth, jurisprudence and justice- stand up and expose these fakes and charlatans, it will remain oversaturated with inaccuracies, false accusations, manufactured injustices and frauds. Much worse, suspects, destroying people’s lives with “manufactured” evidence and rumors. Until then, the true crime community will be overrun with them being a semblance of authority, and their fanbase acting like salivating lynch mob sects- ready to attack any suspect just hypothetically explored based on “what ifs”.

The problem is, there are as many Nancy Grace style true crime blogs and podcasts where they want to perform and act belligerent, as there are those who read and then discuss “what ifs” off a Wikipedia page.

I just listened to two podcasts that are at the top, juxtaposed to Wikipedia and it practically reads off it to the point of predictability. The true crime community is overrun by people, who are everything that is wrong with a broken criminal justice system in the United States. This CSI Effect, blended with the demand for immediate retribution starting with those we simply don’t like. The over reliance on quacks, serums, psychics, preachers, super detectives, machines, computers that have become the norm, however, defeats the entire purpose of jurisprudence.

It is no longer “true crime” for most, but fan fiction, except for the families of victims and innocent people who may just appear suspect that it upends.

Lives are changed- sometimes forever. It has been to the point, that even if the person is innocent of the crime, if they are a “scumbag” who cheated or was caught with dope, or lied about something to cover other activity unrelated to a crime, the lynch mob sentences them to hell- because, “it is rightly so”.

We can do better. The victims and families deserve better. Disinformation, lies, bogus theories must be confronted and exposed. There are those who have had a passion for this for years, and understand the gravity of it, especially if you have sat with a loved one of a victim. It changes you and you can tell who respects that. I respect anyone who seeks the truth, regardless of personal opinion, even if a fact that is revealed goes against your belief. The truth should be what matters and evidence that supports it. Not trying to fit pieces that don’t fit and simply disregarding evidence as planted or fake, or irrelevant because it defeats your view.

There are two sides to true crime and overwhelming the focus is on the crime, investigation and arrest portion, which is great- perhaps justice is served. Unfortunately, reckless public opinion, rushes to judgement sometimes endorsed by influential figures, junk science and innuendo also does significant damage and changes perspective, which ultimate can rob a family of actual justice, which is an injustice- but then an innocent person is robbed of their life and liberty.

As for others, we cannot allow the certainty of conviction to be replaced with expeditious arrests that satisfies the mob’s need for answers and other’s need “to be right”. Facts matter, even if you don’t like it. Unless there is evidence indicating otherwise, the facts is all that matters for the truth. That is everyone’s responsibility. Once we let it slide, an injustice is born.

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