Oprah Owes An Apology to the West Memphis Three

So does Geraldo Rivera, Dan Rather, WMCTV (the local NBC affiliate in Memphis, TN) and every other media, therapist, law enforcement and religious figure that willingly stoked up fears over Satanic Ritual Abuse despite the complete lack of evidence. FBI investigations found absolutely no evidence that Satanic ritual abuse was happening, or that, as anyone who knows a Satanist could tell you, Satanists are not organized in any fashion to facilitate such widespread abuse nor do they have any interest in it.

Oprah was taken in by the author of the Michelle Remembers, a ridiculous book that has been thoroughly debunked since its publication. It’s not the first time Oprah has been duped, (remember James Frey?) but her promotion of the hysteria helped give it legitimacy. While she is seen as the paragon of compassion today, she built those ratings on ruthless sensationalism.

Promoting James Frey may have meant her viewers bought a book they were disappointed in, but promoting the “Satanic Panic” was fearmongering of the basest sort. It had real consequences in peoples lives. Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jesse Misskelley Jr spent 18 years behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit because Oprah, Geraldo and Rather told people that if their children wore dark clothing, listened to metal music, meditated or questioned religion they were dangerous. They turned the normal process of teen rebellion and self-identity into a crime.

It’s not just Baldwin, Misskelley and Echols they need to apologize to because the families of those three little boys know the murderer of their children still walk free and no law enforcement agency is looking for them. Ever since the Lindbergh Baby law enforcement looks to the parents and stepparents first when a crime involves a child, and the DNA found at the crime scene is consistent with Terry Hobbs, the last person to see the boys alive.

The Satanic Panic made it a crime to be different. If you were 30 and wore all black with eyeliner you were a New York book critic, but if you were 16 you were demonic. The 80′s and 90′s weren’t the first time the youth of the nation were demonized (jazz and booze; sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll) but it was the first time since the Witch Trials that you could be convicted of murder based on religious speculation.

Some journalists have done an excellent job of covering the West Memphis Three, but a lot of people who have had successful careers built on fearmongering owe these men an apology.

About Star Foster

Polytheistic Wiccan initiated into the Ravenwood tradition, she has many opinions. Some of them are actually useful.

  • SHould

    So true. The media needs to take their share of responsability for what happened to the Memphis Three, and to all that are condemned because of such stupid propaganda against one’s faith. Some people think that the witch hunt ended a few centuries go, unfortunately, these events proove otherwise.

  • SHould

    So true. The media needs to take their share of responsability for what happened to the Memphis Three, and to all that are condemned because of such stupid propaganda against one’s faith. Some people think that the witch hunt ended a few centuries go, unfortunately, these events proove otherwise.

  • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

    It’s not even the second time Oprah’s been taken in by frauds – remember James Arthur Ray?

    • nonya

      I don’t see the parallel. James Arthur Ray is not a fraud. He is someone who allowed power to get the best of him. I actually believe he had good intentions but then let his ego take over which had disasterous results.

      • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

        No, actually, James Ray is a fraud. Ever hear about his World Wealth Society? He told members of the WWS – who all paid a minimum of $20,000 to join – that their money was being used to create wealth around the world, but it turns out Ray was just putting it into his pocket. By any definition that’s fraud.

        http://saltydroid.info/james-arthur-rays-pre-crime-crimes/

        • Huh

          What does that have to do with Oprah?  He didn’t talk about the World Wealth Society on Oprah; on Oprah he was talking about how money doesn’t buy happiness.  There was nothing fraudulent about his Oprah appearance nor did Oprah even endorse him.  He’s just one of 30,000 who appeared on her show.  So it’s actually you’re argument which is fraudulent.  

    • Well

      Everyone in media provides a platform to hundreds of frauds, phonies and liars.  The only reason we know about it with Oprah is because she has the courage, integrity and intelligence to drag the frauds back on her show in a live televised confrontation and give them the biggest public spanking you’ve ever witnessed.  The difference between Oprah and the rest of the media is she holds the liars accountable.

      • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

        Well, no, actually she hasn’t held this liar accountable: Oprah has yet to issue any apology that I can find for almost single-handedly propelling Ray into the national spotlight. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/10/23/oprah-and-the-sweat-lodge-guru.html

        • Well

          She hasn’t held him accountable because he never lied on her show. Oprah didn’t propel Ray into the national spotlight.  He’s been on lots of shows including Larry King, the Today show etc.  And 30,000 people have been on Oprah.  She’s not responsible for every bad thing all 30,000 of her guests do for the rest of their lives nor does she get credit for all the good things they do.

        • Peace&Karma

          But don’t you agree that whoever Oprah has on her show or endorses, usually the public agrees with her also…in some respect she is a cult leader…everyone follows in her footsteps….”Just because Oprah said it, then its the Word”….Greatest example of this: Barack OBAMA.

          I am acutally glad Oprah said something about the West Memphis 3 that wasn’t founded, cause once again it proves she isn’t right all the time.  Those who have looked at the evidence of what occured 18 years ago know that these grown men are innocent and have been innocent since they were just boys.  No matter what Oprah or the media cannot sway that fact.

          • Tivit

            Oprah never said anything about the West Mephis 3.  

          • Gramsci1

            Did she have to say anything directly??? She stoked the irrational fears of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Nuff said. Now, how about a nice, tearful apology from her, Geraldo, Rather…

          • Ridiculous

            LOL!  The only one stoking irrational thoughts is you.  Oprah’s show on satanic worship was in 1989 years before anyone had ever heard of the West Memphis three.  The West Memphis three were arrested in 1994.  And her show didn’t stoke fear, it was actually funny, and it certainly wasn’t stoking fear five years later.  

      • casper1970

        Actually, Oprah has had plenty of outright frauds on her show. And her  producers are just as accountable. Just watch any of her shows on psychics such as John Edwards to the whole Jenny McCarthy anti-vaccine moment. They rarely show any sort of skeptical point of view, and when they do, Oprah has often directly undercut it, while using dubious or debunked “experts” to back up the claims of the guests she wants to support. I like Oprah and feel she had done a lot of good, but she has also further the cause of the anti-science brigade and arguably, also done some harm to the critical thinking of her audience. Again, she is no devil but not an angel above reproach, either.

        • Actually

          Jenny McCarthy was not on Oprah to discuss the anti-vaccine movement.  She was on to discuss her relationship with Jim Carrey and her experience raising an autistic.  She only mentioned vaccines in passing and Oprah abruptly cut her off to mention that the scientific community disagrees with her.  And Oprah has helped science because she has undermined organized religion with her new age spirituality.  Organized religion is the opponent of science so anything that weakens its strangle hold on the culture helps science advance.

          • WhiteBirch

            “She was on to discuss her relationship with Jim Carrey and her experience raising an autistic.”

            An autistic CHILD. Could your language be more dehumanizing? Sorry to go offtopic, but yeesh.

        • Bbdrvr

          “Oprah has had plenty of outright frauds on her show.”

          Doctor Phil comes to mind… Anyone who claims to be an expert on anything and everything, as he does, is not to be trusted with anything.

  • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

    It’s not even the second time Oprah’s been taken in by frauds – remember James Arthur Ray?

    • nonya

      I don’t see the parallel. James Arthur Ray is not a fraud. He is someone who allowed power to get the best of him. I actually believe he had good intentions but then let his ego take over which had disasterous results.

      • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

        No, actually, James Ray is a fraud. Ever hear about his World Wealth Society? He told members of the WWS – who all paid a minimum of $20,000 to join – that their money was being used to create wealth around the world, but it turns out Ray was just putting it into his pocket. By any definition that’s fraud.

        http://saltydroid.info/james-arthur-rays-pre-crime-crimes/

        • Huh

          What does that have to do with Oprah?  He didn’t talk about the World Wealth Society on Oprah; on Oprah he was talking about how money doesn’t buy happiness.  There was nothing fraudulent about his Oprah appearance nor did Oprah even endorse him.  He’s just one of 30,000 who appeared on her show.  So it’s actually you’re argument which is fraudulent.  

    • Well

      Everyone in media provides a platform to hundreds of frauds, phonies and liars.  The only reason we know about it with Oprah is because she has the courage, integrity and intelligence to drag the frauds back on her show in a live televised confrontation and give them the biggest public spanking you’ve ever witnessed.  The difference between Oprah and the rest of the media is she holds the liars accountable.

      • http://www.thehighwayhermit.com James Bulls

        Well, no, actually she hasn’t held this liar accountable: Oprah has yet to issue any apology that I can find for almost single-handedly propelling Ray into the national spotlight. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/10/23/oprah-and-the-sweat-lodge-guru.html

        • Well

          She hasn’t held him accountable because he never lied on her show. Oprah didn’t propel Ray into the national spotlight.  He’s been on lots of shows including Larry King, the Today show etc.  And 30,000 people have been on Oprah.  She’s not responsible for every bad thing all 30,000 of her guests do for the rest of their lives nor does she get credit for all the good things they do.

        • Peace&Karma

          But don’t you agree that whoever Oprah has on her show or endorses, usually the public agrees with her also…in some respect she is a cult leader…everyone follows in her footsteps….”Just because Oprah said it, then its the Word”….Greatest example of this: Barack OBAMA.

          I am acutally glad Oprah said something about the West Memphis 3 that wasn’t founded, cause once again it proves she isn’t right all the time.  Those who have looked at the evidence of what occured 18 years ago know that these grown men are innocent and have been innocent since they were just boys.  No matter what Oprah or the media cannot sway that fact.

          • Tivit

            Oprah never said anything about the West Mephis 3.  

          • Gramsci1

            Did she have to say anything directly??? She stoked the irrational fears of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Nuff said. Now, how about a nice, tearful apology from her, Geraldo, Rather…

          • Ridiculous

            LOL!  The only one stoking irrational thoughts is you.  Oprah’s show on satanic worship was in 1989 years before anyone had ever heard of the West Memphis three.  The West Memphis three were arrested in 1994.  And her show didn’t stoke fear, it was actually funny, and it certainly wasn’t stoking fear five years later.  

      • casper1970

        Actually, Oprah has had plenty of outright frauds on her show. And her  producers are just as accountable. Just watch any of her shows on psychics such as John Edwards to the whole Jenny McCarthy anti-vaccine moment. They rarely show any sort of skeptical point of view, and when they do, Oprah has often directly undercut it, while using dubious or debunked “experts” to back up the claims of the guests she wants to support. I like Oprah and feel she had done a lot of good, but she has also further the cause of the anti-science brigade and arguably, also done some harm to the critical thinking of her audience. Again, she is no devil but not an angel above reproach, either.

        • Actually

          Jenny McCarthy was not on Oprah to discuss the anti-vaccine movement.  She was on to discuss her relationship with Jim Carrey and her experience raising an autistic.  She only mentioned vaccines in passing and Oprah abruptly cut her off to mention that the scientific community disagrees with her.  And Oprah has helped science because she has undermined organized religion with her new age spirituality.  Organized religion is the opponent of science so anything that weakens its strangle hold on the culture helps science advance.

          • WhiteBirch

            “She was on to discuss her relationship with Jim Carrey and her experience raising an autistic.”

            An autistic CHILD. Could your language be more dehumanizing? Sorry to go offtopic, but yeesh.

        • Bbdrvr

          “Oprah has had plenty of outright frauds on her show.”

          Doctor Phil comes to mind… Anyone who claims to be an expert on anything and everything, as he does, is not to be trusted with anything.

  • http://egregores.wordpress.com Apuleius Platonicus

    This is an issue that has real potential. They spent 18 years in prison. We should spend the next 18 years hounding the people in the media who share in the responsibility for this injustice.

    • Paulette Cagle

      I also think that way,I live in West Memphis,and know one of the boys since he was small,and his family.And I know that he is not capable of doing what they said.The police were just trying to find someone to pin it on so the people of West Memphis and the Media would be satisfied.They really need to check into one of the little boys dad.After he moved to another city in Ar. his wife died supposedly of an overdose.But if the police would check a little farther they might find he is responsible in some way.And as far as Oprah,I can not stand her.She is a very very prejudiced person.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    This is an issue that has real potential. They spent 18 years in prison. We should spend the next 18 years hounding the people in the media who share in the responsibility for this injustice.

    • Paulette Cagle

      I also think that way,I live in West Memphis,and know one of the boys since he was small,and his family.And I know that he is not capable of doing what they said.The police were just trying to find someone to pin it on so the people of West Memphis and the Media would be satisfied.They really need to check into one of the little boys dad.After he moved to another city in Ar. his wife died supposedly of an overdose.But if the police would check a little farther they might find he is responsible in some way.And as far as Oprah,I can not stand her.She is a very very prejudiced person.

  • Beth Winegarner

    Amen, Amen, Amen. 

  • Beth Winegarner

    Amen, Amen, Amen. 

  • Audreyburns21

    Unfortunately fear mongering is standard operating procedure for the press and television. If you want to learn the truth, don’t rely on either. Do your own research.

  • Audreyburns21

    Unfortunately fear mongering is standard operating procedure for the press and television. If you want to learn the truth, don’t rely on either. Do your own research.

  • Webba

    “Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jesse Misskelley Jr
    spent 18 years behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit because
    Oprah, Geraldo and Rather told people that if their children wore dark
    clothing, listened to metal music, meditated or questioned religion they
    were dangerous.”

    Actually Oprah herself questioned organized religion more than anyone
    else in media to the point that religious extremists have called her the
    anti-Christ.  Oprah’s the last person who should be criticized in this
    regard. 

    • Karma&Peace

      I agree, I just referenced her as a cult leader above, she is the antichrist great example.

  • Webba

    “Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jesse Misskelley Jr
    spent 18 years behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit because
    Oprah, Geraldo and Rather told people that if their children wore dark
    clothing, listened to metal music, meditated or questioned religion they
    were dangerous.”

    Actually Oprah herself questioned organized religion more than anyone
    else in media to the point that religious extremists have called her the
    anti-Christ.  Oprah’s the last person who should be criticized in this
    regard. 

    • Karma&Peace

      I agree, I just referenced her as a cult leader above, she is the antichrist great example.

  • Unique Jenique

    It just goes to show you how imperfect Oprah really is. I am so glad these men are free. Society, the media, and damn near everyone else who belittled them owe them 18 years of their lost lives. God bless them. Now, they need to look into the stepfather of one of those boys.

    • Well

      It just goes to show how stupid you are.  Oprah never belittled these three men.  I don’t think she ever even mentioned them.  Why don’t you blame the white judge, white jury, and white lawyers instead of dreaming up some ridiculous excuse to attack a successful black woman who had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this.  But I forgot, black people are always guilty of something in America.  

      • Rtwinne

        You forgot the latino police officer and the chinese secretary in the back!  It usually takes five hundred years for a culture to come out of bondage! So you can have your all black BET for another 450 years!! You ever heard of reverse racism, your one of them!! Peace

      • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

        That’s just ignorant. Oprah is not above criticism because of her race or position. Neither are Dan Rather and Geraldo Rivera.

        • Wow

          But you shouldn’t just libel Oprah because you need a black person to blame.  She never even mentioned the West Memphis Three on her show.  This blog is just another witch hunt against a successful black woman.  

      • Cara

        I’m not sure which is more disheartening – the comment that tries to turn Oprah into the victim, when the clear victims were the WM3, or that 2 people ‘liked’ this comment.

  • Unique Jenique

    It just goes to show you how imperfect Oprah really is. I am so glad these men are free. Society, the media, and damn near everyone else who belittled them owe them 18 years of their lost lives. God bless them. Now, they need to look into the stepfather of one of those boys.

    • Well

      It just goes to show how stupid you are.  Oprah never belittled these three men.  I don’t think she ever even mentioned them.  Why don’t you blame the white judge, white jury, and white lawyers instead of dreaming up some ridiculous excuse to attack a successful black woman who had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this.  But I forgot, black people are always guilty of something in America.  

      • Rtwinne

        You forgot the latino police officer and the chinese secretary in the back!  It usually takes five hundred years for a culture to come out of bondage! So you can have your all black BET for another 450 years!! You ever heard of reverse racism, your one of them!! Peace

      • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

        That’s just ignorant. Oprah is not above criticism because of her race or position. Neither are Dan Rather and Geraldo Rivera.

        • Wow

          But you shouldn’t just libel Oprah because you need a black person to blame.  She never even mentioned the West Memphis Three on her show.  This blog is just another witch hunt against a successful black woman.  

      • Cara

        I’m not sure which is more disheartening – the comment that tries to turn Oprah into the victim, when the clear victims were the WM3, or that 2 people ‘liked’ this comment.

  • Rtwinne

    I would love for damion, james and jesse to appear on Oprah and do a live polygraph test, hypnosis, and any other deception testing. It will never happen, but hopefully one day Justice will be served. Just my opinion, I think they are guilty. There was a confession and a failed polygraph for damion. So im the bad guy, everybody write your nasty comments. No worries, i can take it!!     Justice for those three little boys.         PS how could one single man hold three kids without one of them getting away and screaming for help. Its obvious that the killer was more than one person. Justice will prevail and Karma is a sob. Peace

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      The DNA evidence doesn’t match. There’s no evidence and no motive.

    • Chryfii

      You are obviously well read. You do realise that at least two people’s DNA has been found at the scene, none of which matches either of these 3 people (all of whom were teens themselves at the time.) I sincerely hope (or maybe I do) that you don’t get accused of something you didn’t do because of the way you look and the books in your library.

    • Donalbain

      A polygraph? why not just dunk them in water and see if they float. Polygraphs are utterly useless and there is a reason that they are not used in courts in most of the world.

  • Rtwinne

    I would love for damion, james and jesse to appear on Oprah and do a live polygraph test, hypnosis, and any other deception testing. It will never happen, but hopefully one day Justice will be served. Just my opinion, I think they are guilty. There was a confession and a failed polygraph for damion. So im the bad guy, everybody write your nasty comments. No worries, i can take it!!     Justice for those three little boys.         PS how could one single man hold three kids without one of them getting away and screaming for help. Its obvious that the killer was more than one person. Justice will prevail and Karma is a sob. Peace

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      The DNA evidence doesn’t match. There’s no evidence and no motive.

    • Chryfii

      You are obviously well read. You do realise that at least two people’s DNA has been found at the scene, none of which matches either of these 3 people (all of whom were teens themselves at the time.) I sincerely hope (or maybe I do) that you don’t get accused of something you didn’t do because of the way you look and the books in your library.

    • Donalbain

      A polygraph? why not just dunk them in water and see if they float. Polygraphs are utterly useless and there is a reason that they are not used in courts in most of the world.

  • Brett

    You know what other ridiculous thing has been thoroughly debunked? The contraction “it’s” when used as a possessive. If you can’t spell a simple three-letter word (its), you shouldn’t be part of the blogosphere.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      Right, because a single typo is far more important than the actual message of the post.

  • Brett

    You know what other ridiculous thing has been thoroughly debunked? The contraction “it’s” when used as a possessive. If you can’t spell a simple three-letter word (its), you shouldn’t be part of the blogosphere.

  • Brett

    You know what other ridiculous thing has been thoroughly debunked? The contraction “it’s” when used as a possessive. If you can’t spell a simple three-letter word (its), you shouldn’t be part of the blogosphere.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Right, because a single typo is far more important than the actual message of the post.

  • Timclayton77

    They plead guilty, they admitted it, and this is not the first time. does anyone care abput the threee little boys they killed? The true victims are not hanging in Memphis with rock stars.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      Do you care that the DNA evidence suggests the murderer of three small children has been free for 18 years?

      They maintain their innocence. They entered an Alford plea.

    • Donalbain
    • Bbdrvr

      They “pled guilty” while maintaining their innocence. Even the prosecutor admitted there was no real evidence against them.  Enough with the knee-jerk reactions – do some research!

    • Paulettecagle

      They had to make the deal to get out stupid,and they still pleaded NOT GUILTY before guilty.They had to take the deal so they could NOT sue the state of AR. or anyone else for wrongful imprisonment.Everyone knows that they found enough evidence and DNA to prove them innocence when they went to trial again.

  • Timclayton77

    They plead guilty, they admitted it, and this is not the first time. does anyone care abput the threee little boys they killed? The true victims are not hanging in Memphis with rock stars.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Do you care that the DNA evidence suggests the murderer of three small children has been free for 18 years?

      They maintain their innocence. They entered an Alford plea.

    • Donalbain
    • Bbdrvr

      They “pled guilty” while maintaining their innocence. Even the prosecutor admitted there was no real evidence against them.  Enough with the knee-jerk reactions – do some research!

    • Paulettecagle

      They had to make the deal to get out stupid,and they still pleaded NOT GUILTY before guilty.They had to take the deal so they could NOT sue the state of AR. or anyone else for wrongful imprisonment.Everyone knows that they found enough evidence and DNA to prove them innocence when they went to trial again.

  • Hakimbey

    A lot of people who do not commit crimes are forced to plead guilty for a number of circumstances. For example, the police convinces you that the evidence is overwhelming and that you’re better of doing a deal than letting it go to trial. This is far more common than you think, just talk to any forensic physiologist. 

  • Hakimbey

    A lot of people who do not commit crimes are forced to plead guilty for a number of circumstances. For example, the police convinces you that the evidence is overwhelming and that you’re better of doing a deal than letting it go to trial. This is far more common than you think, just talk to any forensic physiologist. 

  • http://dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

    I’m not a blind fan of Oprah, but I remember her from her days on black and white TV as a Chicago local program. I have enough faith in her integrity that I believe if people petitioned her to correct the mistake that led to the miscarriage of justice, she would actually take steps to correct the harm she did.

    • Wow

      Seeing as Oprah has never even mentioned the West Memphis Three on her show, why in the world would she need to correct anything?  The only thing that needs to be corrected is this blog for libeling her in such a malicious way.

  • http://blog.dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

    I’m not a blind fan of Oprah, but I remember her from her days on black and white TV as a Chicago local program. I have enough faith in her integrity that I believe if people petitioned her to correct the mistake that led to the miscarriage of justice, she would actually take steps to correct the harm she did.

    • Wow

      Seeing as Oprah has never even mentioned the West Memphis Three on her show, why in the world would she need to correct anything?  The only thing that needs to be corrected is this blog for libeling her in such a malicious way.

  • C2

    All three already took lie detector tests.  All passed, with the exception of Jesse being asked a drug question.  You’re so sure how the crime took place?  Perhaps YOU were there, you know so much.  Like you said, you’re always guilty of something.

  • C2

    All three already took lie detector tests.  All passed, with the exception of Jesse being asked a drug question.  You’re so sure how the crime took place?  Perhaps YOU were there, you know so much.  Like you said, you’re always guilty of something.

  • Anonymous

    In response to ‘nonya’ up above:
    Seriously? What more would it take for Ray to be proven a fraud in your book? Good lord, you’re gullible.

  • sindarintech

    In response to ‘nonya’ up above:
    Seriously? What more would it take for Ray to be proven a fraud in your book? Good lord, you’re gullible.

  • Anonymous

    Oprah lost her credibility with me when she recommended “The Secret”.

    As for satanic panic, it is something we must constantly guard against. I am sure that having the name “Damien” did not help, either.

    I hope these three guys can salvage their lives and find some happiness and peace. And I hope that whoever did kill those children gets their comeuppance at long last.

  • sunfell

    Oprah lost her credibility with me when she recommended “The Secret”.

    As for satanic panic, it is something we must constantly guard against. I am sure that having the name “Damien” did not help, either.

    I hope these three guys can salvage their lives and find some happiness and peace. And I hope that whoever did kill those children gets their comeuppance at long last.

  • Heartfelt

    As I was reading through the comments above I was reminded how easily we seem to get off track. We ARE a nation easily led by our media, but how about we place some blame where it so obviously belongs, at the feet of our justice system (the judges, lawyers and police) who get so scared by a situation like these murders and the public outcry of panic, that they in essence pick a scapegoat and assign guilt. never mind that the evidence doesn’t agree with their findings, “WE HAVE THE GUILTY PARTIES LOCKED UP! WE CAN ALL SLEEP WELL TONIGHT!!” Everybody is happy? I’ve always believed these boys innocent and thank God that they are free now. I pray that the hell they’ve been through will not prevent them from have normal happy lives from here on. God bless and keep them. I hope the REAL killer is getting VERY nervous!!!
     

  • Heartfelt

    As I was reading through the comments above I was reminded how easily we seem to get off track. We ARE a nation easily led by our media, but how about we place some blame where it so obviously belongs, at the feet of our justice system (the judges, lawyers and police) who get so scared by a situation like these murders and the public outcry of panic, that they in essence pick a scapegoat and assign guilt. never mind that the evidence doesn’t agree with their findings, “WE HAVE THE GUILTY PARTIES LOCKED UP! WE CAN ALL SLEEP WELL TONIGHT!!” Everybody is happy? I’ve always believed these boys innocent and thank God that they are free now. I pray that the hell they’ve been through will not prevent them from have normal happy lives from here on. God bless and keep them. I hope the REAL killer is getting VERY nervous!!!
     

  • Little_peach

    Oprah isn’t being taken by frauds she was going with stories that would get her viewers. You dont think investigators on her staff could check to see if the content of these novels were legitimate. Oprah has made billions pretending to be a psychologist with no training or degree giving out advice good or bad with impunity. She makes me sick

  • Little_peach

    Oprah isn’t being taken by frauds she was going with stories that would get her viewers. You dont think investigators on her staff could check to see if the content of these novels were legitimate. Oprah has made billions pretending to be a psychologist with no training or degree giving out advice good or bad with impunity. She makes me sick

  • Hbuchy

    lol you’ve got to be kidding me???
    none of those vids are even from the time the WM3 case was happening.
    nor do they even mention the case.show me vids of Dan Rather, Geraldo or Oprah specificly tying the WM3 case to satanic ritual.
    Talk about media sensationalism and hype!!
    roflmao

  • Hbuchy

    lol you’ve got to be kidding me???
    none of those vids are even from the time the WM3 case was happening.
    nor do they even mention the case.show me vids of Dan Rather, Geraldo or Oprah specificly tying the WM3 case to satanic ritual.
    Talk about media sensationalism and hype!!
    roflmao

  • TRUTH

    I wish people would stop claiming that the only case against the WM3 was because people were in a satanic panic. That is straight up BS.

    Those who claim it was are the real ones guilty of sensationalist propaganda.

    Oprah Winfrey and Geraldo Rivera had NOTHING to do with the conviction of these convicted child murderers. They were found guilty because sufficient evidence existed to convict them, which the WM3 and their defense attorneys ADMITTED in open court a few days ago.

    Read the trial transcripts instead of the Facebook pages of Johnny Depp and the Dixie Chicks and you will see that.

    I suppose it’s just easier (i.e. lazier) to believe what the sensationalist media of today want you to believe.

    Hypocrites.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      The DNA doesn’t match. Why do so many people have a problem with accepting science over emotion?

      • http://www.facebook.com/tddalrymple Timothy Dalrymple

        Isn’t the DNA evidence more recent, though?  The question was whether the conviction was justified at the time, on the basis of the information they had then — or whether it was caused by a “satanic panic.”  

        And can someone clarify what Oprah actually did?  I hear some people saying she never mentioned the WM3.  So why is this focused on Oprah?  She encouraged the satanic panic?  How?  I wish the article had these details.  So she discussed Michelle Remembers.  That’s not a very detailed account, unfortunately.  I’d love to know more.

    • http://dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

      Per CNN and two or three other news services:
      1)no witnesses ever placed these men at the crime scene
      2)no physical evidence was ever found linking them to the crime
      3)when DNA testing became available, it was one of the boys’ stepfather’s DNA – and semen – that was found on the victims, as was the DNA of a stepfather’s friend.

      The US legal system is selectively rigid, and much in criminal and civil court can be left to the whim of a judge, regardless of what precedent may already exist. Public opinion and local prejudices can, will and do send people to jail. You can trust the system as long as you have the financial, legal and social support required for the system to be trustworthy.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_THKKWMR3NH56W3S6RRMI6SZIKE Tubal

        1) False – 2 witnesses (that I can remember) put Echols and Baldwin in the immedate area that night.
        2) False – Fibers were found that matched clothing found at one of the boys homes.
        3) There was no semen found.  Only hair.  And it was the father’s.

        Also, Damien Echols was an animal killer and fire starter before he was arrested.  Both are very common in psychopaths.  He killed, stomped, and pulled out the entrails of a great dane shortly before the crimes.  Seen by multiple people.  He threatened to slit his mother’s throat, and kill his father and eat his flesh.  While he was institutionalized shortly before these crimes, he sucked the blood from another patient’s neck wound.  His beliefs had little relevance, but there is no doubt he was a very troubled kid.

        These are all FACTS.  And can all be found here: http://callahan.8k.com/index.html

        This case had little to do with sensationalism and “satanic clothing”.  They were arrested because Miskelley confessed that they did it.   He gave details of the confession, including evidence that was later found (a beer bottle they drank from at the site, that he said he took with him and broke at a nearby underpass was found right where he said it was).

        Just because there was no DNA evidence at the site, doesn’t mean they weren’t there.

        It’s just sad that the “documentaries” swayed so much opinion with giving very little of the facts.

    • Chryfii

      Then why did the prosecution use an ‘expert’ on ritual killings in the trial? In fact, Dale Griffis needs to be held to account for his actions too (if he is still alive.) A self-professed ‘expert’ on the Occult, with only a degree from a diploma mill recognised by nobody, who testified at this trial as a court accepted authority that this was a ritual killing based on his ‘knowledge.’ If you watch Paradise Lost you can’t help but laugh at his testimony, even in so serious a case.

  • TRUTH

    I wish people would stop claiming that the only case against the WM3 was because people were in a satanic panic. That is straight up BS.

    Those who claim it was are the real ones guilty of sensationalist propaganda.

    Oprah Winfrey and Geraldo Rivera had NOTHING to do with the conviction of these convicted child murderers. They were found guilty because sufficient evidence existed to convict them, which the WM3 and their defense attorneys ADMITTED in open court a few days ago.

    Read the trial transcripts instead of the Facebook pages of Johnny Depp and the Dixie Chicks and you will see that.

    I suppose it’s just easier (i.e. lazier) to believe what the sensationalist media of today want you to believe.

    Hypocrites.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      The DNA doesn’t match. Why do so many people have a problem with accepting science over emotion?

      • http://www.facebook.com/tddalrymple Timothy Dalrymple

        Isn’t the DNA evidence more recent, though?  The question was whether the conviction was justified at the time, on the basis of the information they had then — or whether it was caused by a “satanic panic.”  

        And can someone clarify what Oprah actually did?  I hear some people saying she never mentioned the WM3.  So why is this focused on Oprah?  She encouraged the satanic panic?  How?  I wish the article had these details.  So she discussed Michelle Remembers.  That’s not a very detailed account, unfortunately.  I’d love to know more.

    • http://blog.dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

      Per CNN and two or three other news services:
      1)no witnesses ever placed these men at the crime scene
      2)no physical evidence was ever found linking them to the crime
      3)when DNA testing became available, it was one of the boys’ stepfather’s DNA – and semen – that was found on the victims, as was the DNA of a stepfather’s friend.

      The US legal system is selectively rigid, and much in criminal and civil court can be left to the whim of a judge, regardless of what precedent may already exist. Public opinion and local prejudices can, will and do send people to jail. You can trust the system as long as you have the financial, legal and social support required for the system to be trustworthy.

    • Chryfii

      Then why did the prosecution use an ‘expert’ on ritual killings in the trial? In fact, Dale Griffis needs to be held to account for his actions too (if he is still alive.) A self-professed ‘expert’ on the Occult, with only a degree from a diploma mill recognised by nobody, who testified at this trial as a court accepted authority that this was a ritual killing based on his ‘knowledge.’ If you watch Paradise Lost you can’t help but laugh at his testimony, even in so serious a case.

  • http://www.hackcraft.net/ Jon Hanna

    Why suggest “Oprah was taken in” by anybody in this case, when she’s made such a good living by being “taken in” by a lot of fraudsters over the past few decades? She even had Phil McGraw singing her praises on her retirement show, so she’s been at it up until the very last moment.

    Oprah is to fraudsters what pimps are to whores.

    The media people involved in the Satanic panic are no doubt too far removed from the case to be held to have legal culpability, but I wonder if a tort could be brought against the “expert” witness. Aside from the damages, perhaps it would stand as a legal recognition of the innocence of the three.

  • http://www.hackcraft.net/ Jon Hanna

    Why suggest “Oprah was taken in” by anybody in this case, when she’s made such a good living by being “taken in” by a lot of fraudsters over the past few decades? She even had Phil McGraw singing her praises on her retirement show, so she’s been at it up until the very last moment.

    Oprah is to fraudsters what pimps are to whores.

    The media people involved in the Satanic panic are no doubt too far removed from the case to be held to have legal culpability, but I wonder if a tort could be brought against the “expert” witness. Aside from the damages, perhaps it would stand as a legal recognition of the innocence of the three.

  • http://dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

    I’m not seeing the comments posted here now, but I received a response via Disqis absolutely INSISTING that the at least one of the WM3 was indeed an animal killer, etc. While the “resource” link  provided looks to be specious especially as compared to a very recent news report by CNN, it might be a good idea to write a post listing the evidence that was used in the trial versus what came out. Also, the book Devil’s Trap might merit a read for those of us who missed it when it was making its original headlines.

  • http://dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

    I’m not seeing the comments posted here now, but I received a response via Disqis absolutely INSISTING that the at least one of the WM3 was indeed an animal killer, etc. While the “resource” link  provided looks to be specious especially as compared to a very recent news report by CNN, it might be a good idea to write a post listing the evidence that was used in the trial versus what came out. Also, the book Devil’s Trap might merit a read for those of us who missed it when it was making its original headlines.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      Yep, the post was removed as the information wasn’t credible and contributed to the Satanic Panic mentality.

      A detailed analysis of the case is a great idea. Don’t know if I have the time for that but I’d be interested in publishing such a thing.

      • http://dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

        hm, I might be able to do it, but I’ll have to check my writing roster. Cara Schulz can give you a reference as to my capacity for such a project.

        • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

          Cara has acquainted me with your journalistic awesomeness. PNC-MN is lucky to have you as a resource, Diana!

  • http://blog.dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

    I’m not seeing the comments posted here now, but I received a response via Disqis absolutely INSISTING that the at least one of the WM3 was indeed an animal killer, etc. While the “resource” link  provided looks to be specious especially as compared to a very recent news report by CNN, it might be a good idea to write a post listing the evidence that was used in the trial versus what came out. Also, the book Devil’s Trap might merit a read for those of us who missed it when it was making its original headlines.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      Yep, the post was removed as the information wasn’t credible and contributed to the Satanic Panic mentality.

      A detailed analysis of the case is a great idea. Don’t know if I have the time for that but I’d be interested in publishing such a thing.

      • http://blog.dianarajchel.com Diana Rajchel

        hm, I might be able to do it, but I’ll have to check my writing roster. Cara Schulz can give you a reference as to my capacity for such a project.

        • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

          Cara has acquainted me with your journalistic awesomeness. PNC-MN is lucky to have you as a resource, Diana!

  • Ronnie

    The injustice done to these young guys is nothing but obscene in the extreme. I have followed the case since the HBO docos on the crime & I have read two books about it too. The Devil’s Knot is particularly enlightening. There is no doubt that the evil Christian Right (with their 1950′s puritanical agenda) should hang it’s head in shame for what they have done!

  • Ronnie

    The injustice done to these young guys is nothing but obscene in the extreme. I have followed the case since the HBO docos on the crime & I have read two books about it too. The Devil’s Knot is particularly enlightening. There is no doubt that the evil Christian Right (with their 1950′s puritanical agenda) should hang it’s head in shame for what they have done!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RAWB7EUZ3VVQ34R73GFF5F2C6I Supergirl

    Just because the West Memphis three were innocent and not involved in ritual cult does not mean that ritual abuse does not exist.   
    Ritual abuse is rare, but it is out there.  It’s not necessarily “Satanic” – it’s often done in the name of Christian teaching.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RAWB7EUZ3VVQ34R73GFF5F2C6I Supergirl

    Just because the West Memphis three were innocent and not involved in ritual cult does not mean that ritual abuse does not exist.   
    Ritual abuse is rare, but it is out there.  It’s not necessarily “Satanic” – it’s often done in the name of Christian teaching.  

  • Anonymous

    for those who are dead certain that James Arthur Ray is a charlatan and a fraud I invite you to PROVE YOUR CERTAINTY!

    Here is a FREE video of James Arthur Ray teaching his philosophy about money. After watching this short video share with the world the THREE main things that have you convinced he is a charlatan and a fraud

    Copy and Paste this into the YouTube search engine:

    James Ray from “The Secret” on Money

    Then make your list:

    1

    2

    3

    So far NO ONE has been able to do this. Just think! YOU may be the first!

    Remember: If you cannot do this simple task effectively then you are calling Mr Ray a charlatan and a fraud when YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!

  • JeaneSias

    for those who are dead certain that James Arthur Ray is a charlatan and a fraud I invite you to PROVE YOUR CERTAINTY!

    Here is a FREE video of James Arthur Ray teaching his philosophy about money. After watching this short video share with the world the THREE main things that have you convinced he is a charlatan and a fraud

    Copy and Paste this into the YouTube search engine:

    James Ray from “The Secret” on Money

    Then make your list:

    1

    2

    3

    So far NO ONE has been able to do this. Just think! YOU may be the first!

    Remember: If you cannot do this simple task effectively then you are calling Mr Ray a charlatan and a fraud when YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IPLIO5VCWUG5F2M7XYVW27CTGU Jenna Stevenson

    Thanks for pointing out the media’s role in derailing the case. Joe Berligner, the director of the ‘Paradise Lost’ movies made about the West Memphis 3, was on Democracy Now! today talking about what he thought about the release of the West Memphis 3. He spent 15 years on those movies and helped build high profile support for the 3. His interview is here: http://bit.ly/q4e9sb

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IPLIO5VCWUG5F2M7XYVW27CTGU Jenna Stevenson

    Thanks for pointing out the media’s role in derailing the case. Joe Berligner, the director of the ‘Paradise Lost’ movies made about the West Memphis 3, was on Democracy Now! today talking about what he thought about the release of the West Memphis 3. He spent 15 years on those movies and helped build high profile support for the 3. His interview is here: http://bit.ly/q4e9sb

  • Rmh7069

    While you are hounding the media who “lead to this injustice” why not include 48 Hours, Larry King and even the NY Times, who, as late as last week continue to misrepresent facts of this case by reporting falsehoods such as “Misskelly was interrogated for 12 hours”, or they were “convicted for wearing black and listening to Metallica”?   You never hear reported that Misskelly confessed FOUR times, twice after he was convicted, that the wounds on the victim he said he chased down had right-side focused trauma and Misskelly was left-handed.  You never hear how two days after the murder Echols alibi was all over the map with his girlfriend, mom and step-dad, but after his arrest a month later they had all rehearsed the timeline to shore up an alibi.  You never hear how just hours after the bodies were found Misskelly was at Baldwin’s house to visit Jason & Damien, despite their constant argument that they didn’t hang with Jesse and weren’t friends.  All you hear are sensational sound bites laced with propaganda.

    Yeah, the “satanic ritual” motive presented by the Prosecution was a stretch, but the State weren’t required to prove motive and nothing in the jury notes, files or transcripts indicate they were convicted because they wore black Metallica shirts (as probably 95% of the juror’s kids or nephews did!)

    What is pathetic and injust in this case is 80% of the people who support the WM3′s innocence know zilch about the case other than what they were told on HBO. 

  • Rmh7069

    While you are hounding the media who “lead to this injustice” why not include 48 Hours, Larry King and even the NY Times, who, as late as last week continue to misrepresent facts of this case by reporting falsehoods such as “Misskelly was interrogated for 12 hours”, or they were “convicted for wearing black and listening to Metallica”?   You never hear reported that Misskelly confessed FOUR times, twice after he was convicted, that the wounds on the victim he said he chased down had right-side focused trauma and Misskelly was left-handed.  You never hear how two days after the murder Echols alibi was all over the map with his girlfriend, mom and step-dad, but after his arrest a month later they had all rehearsed the timeline to shore up an alibi.  You never hear how just hours after the bodies were found Misskelly was at Baldwin’s house to visit Jason & Damien, despite their constant argument that they didn’t hang with Jesse and weren’t friends.  All you hear are sensational sound bites laced with propaganda.

    Yeah, the “satanic ritual” motive presented by the Prosecution was a stretch, but the State weren’t required to prove motive and nothing in the jury notes, files or transcripts indicate they were convicted because they wore black Metallica shirts (as probably 95% of the juror’s kids or nephews did!)

    What is pathetic and injust in this case is 80% of the people who support the WM3′s innocence know zilch about the case other than what they were told on HBO. 

  • Dana Corby

    Star, thanks for this article and my sympathies for the bozo reactions of some readers.

    Readers, Star never said Oprah personally defamed the WM3. She said that Oprah, along with a number of other ‘journalists’ and talk-show hosts, contributed greatly through their sensationalism to the atmosphere of Satanic Panic that predisposed the West Memphis police and prosecutor first to view partial consumption of the poor little bodies by fish and turtles as ‘satanic sexual mutilation’ and then to pin the murders on three oddball teenage boys rather than look for the real killer.

    And to those of you whose posts denigrated those of us who disagreed with you as ‘ignorant’ of the facts — a lot of us have been following this case for years.

    There was evidence, even back in the pre-DNA era, that the step-father of one of the boys may have done it and none, other that the coerced and immediately recanted confession of the mentally-handicapped Jesse, that the boys were anywhere near the place — in fact, there was positive evidence that two of them were elsewhere.

    The DNA is only the latest in a long string of new evidence brought to light over the years, some tending to exonerate the WM3 and some tending to implicate the real killer, which the town of West Memphis and the state of Arkansas refused to consider as grounds for a new trial. The authorities’ bunker mentality cost these three innocent men years and years of their lives. I pray that Karma gets them all, AND the sensationalists who created the Satanic Panic, hard and soon.

  • Dana Corby

    Star, thanks for this article and my sympathies for the bozo reactions of some readers.

    Readers, Star never said Oprah personally defamed the WM3. She said that Oprah, along with a number of other ‘journalists’ and talk-show hosts, contributed greatly through their sensationalism to the atmosphere of Satanic Panic that predisposed the West Memphis police and prosecutor first to view partial consumption of the poor little bodies by fish and turtles as ‘satanic sexual mutilation’ and then to pin the murders on three oddball teenage boys rather than look for the real killer.

    And to those of you whose posts denigrated those of us who disagreed with you as ‘ignorant’ of the facts — a lot of us have been following this case for years.

    There was evidence, even back in the pre-DNA era, that the step-father of one of the boys may have done it and none, other that the coerced and immediately recanted confession of the mentally-handicapped Jesse, that the boys were anywhere near the place — in fact, there was positive evidence that two of them were elsewhere.

    The DNA is only the latest in a long string of new evidence brought to light over the years, some tending to exonerate the WM3 and some tending to implicate the real killer, which the town of West Memphis and the state of Arkansas refused to consider as grounds for a new trial. The authorities’ bunker mentality cost these three innocent men years and years of their lives. I pray that Karma gets them all, AND the sensationalists who created the Satanic Panic, hard and soon.


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