Friday, December 07, 2007

ABC PULLS A “RATHER” WITH THEIR “HUCKABEE’S PARDON” STORY


On Wednesday December 5th, 2007 Brian Ross of ABC’s Good Morning America stood in front of a Graphic that stated “Huckabee’s Pardon” and went on to recount the story of rapist Wayne Dumond who was released from prison while Mike Huckabee was the Governor of Arkansas. After his release, the criminal apparently started back up again where he left off, and went on to rape and murder at least one other woman. After recounting the crimes of Dumond, and the outcry of past victims about the violence this monster was capable of, Ross concluded the story with the words “but Mike Huckabee went ahead anyway.”


Diane Sawyer shook her head and gave her standard “why do Republicans like to kick puppies?” expression, and moved on to the next story. This report had a glaring error in it that neither “journalist” seemed willing to address. Despite the big graphic that read “Huckabee’s Pardon”, the fact is that Mike Huckabee never pardoned Wayne Dumond. This was a blatant lie on the part of ABC, Good Morning America, and Brian Ross.


The first mistake Ross made when putting his story together was using the Huffington Post as his source. This is an online publication that is about as balanced as Rosie O’donnell’s psyche or a diet of raw cookie dough and Benzodiazepine. Well actually his first mistake was subscribing to the Dan Rather ethical code of political reporting, but that is apparently so much a part of Brian Ross’s professional DNA that he can no longer separate his political leanings from his job as a news reporter.


Let’s start with the obvious lie, the graphic that stated “Huckabee’s Pardon”. This is the sort of distortion of the truth that one would expect from the mind of Mary Mapes. This dangerous criminal was not pardoned, he was paroled. There is a huge difference between the two.


Wayne Dumond’s journey to freedom started when Bill Clinton’s liberal Democrat successor to Governorship of Arkansas, Jim Guy Tucker, commuted Wayne’s sentence from life plus twenty years to a total of 39 years. Thanks to Tucker this dangerous predator became eligible for parole in 1994 instead of being locked away from society forever. Huckabee inherited this issue when Guy Tucker was convicted of corruption associated with the Whitewater investigation and forced to resign.


In 1999 the parole board took a vote regarding the release of Wayne Dumond, and the majority cast their lot in favor of letting him out of jail. Portraying this democratic vote to parole a convict as a gubernatorial pardon is about as accurate as describing the landslide victory of Ronald Reagan as a great moment in the history of despotic power grabs.


Ever since the release and subsequent crimes of Dumond, the members of the parole board responsible for his freedom have used the occasion of a Huckabee election cycle to rush to any available microphone and claim that the Governor forced them to parole the rapist. The last time “The Devil made me do it” actually worked, comedian Flip Wilson was channeling his convict loving alter ego “Geraldine”. The difference is that Wilson was joking.


Every member of the parole board that freed Wayne was either appointed by Bill Clinton or Jim Guy Tucker; both liberal Democrats and opponents of Mike Huckabee. Unless the state of Arkansas has some very broad laws regarding the Governor’s right to waterboard rivals until they see things his way, these board members would logically not be inclined to simply give in to the will of somebody they would see as a political opponent. So why would they be inclined to consider freeing somebody like Dumond?


Huckabee was never shy about his intentions regarding Dumond, he leaned heavily to the side of seeing the man released. The parole board saw it this way to. The reasons for this were because compelling evidence shed light on the possibility that Wayne was actually not guilty. Any good Governor or parole board will do their ethical best to err on the side justice.


The case was politically charged in the state of Arkansas because the victim in the rape that sent Wayne Dumond to prison for life plus twenty years was Ashley Stevens, a teenaged cheerleader and cousin of Bill Clinton.


Let’s ignore the sympathy for Dumond that was inspired when he was assaulted in his home, hogtied, castrated, and his testicles displayed in a jar on the desk of Sheriff Coolidge Conlee. According to Steve Dunleavy of the New York Post, Conlee even put a note under the body parts that stated "That's what happens to people who fool around in my county." Sympathy isn’t evidence, even though it may sway the sort who participates in the politics of really bitter tears, we shouldn’t release criminals because we feel sorry for them. In the case of Wayne Dumond his release was partly due to the fact that the victim’s account and the evidence were at odds.


One of the most emotionally charged moments in this continuing saga was when Ashley Stevens went nearly nose to nose with Governor Huckabee and said, "This is how close I was to Wayne Dumond, and I will never forget his face, and you will never forget mine. He's the one that raped me." Oddly enough, according to Newsmax, she couldn’t remember the eye color of the man whose face she would “never forget”. When giving a description of the Dumond she got this basic fact wrong along with a botched description of the vehicle he was driving.


There are other problems with this case that are on a genetic level, and when we say “genetic” we don’t mean the foggy memory that seems to kick in whenever somebody with Clinton DNA has to answer questions. We mean that the DNA from the crime scene didn’t match that of Wayne Dumond.


Dr. Moses Schanfield, who heads the Analytic Genetic Testing Center in Denver, took the semen sample left on Ashley’s jeans, and tested it to see if they matched Wayne Dumond at a genetic level. After the results of the test were in, Schanfield told New York Post reporter, Steve Dunleavy, that "This case was a disgrace" and that sperm found on the girl's jeans could not “in a million years” belong to Dumond. Moses Schafield testified to this fact during one of Wayne’s appeals.


In the end Wayne Dumond was sent to, and kept in jail based nothing more then the word of the victim, a botched description, and DNA that was a negative match for his. Considering the fact that Bill Clinton has a credible rape accusation by Juanita Broderick in his past as well as a well documented history of spilling semen on clothing, one has to wonder why nobody tested the sample from Ashley’s jeans to see if it matched that of President Clinton. We will save comments about Ashley’s physical resemblance to Monica Lewinsky for another day, but this idea actually has more factual a base then the story that Good Morning America went with that accused Huckabee of pardoning a rapist.


People can speculate all they want on Huckabee’s involvement in this issue and the parole board members can continue to try to blame him for the vote that they made of their own free will; that’s just the politicized world we live in today. We can also ask question like did the criminal castration and imprisonment of an innocent man turn him into a monster, or was Dumond already a monster who got framed for a crime he didn’t commit? All this is open for consideration. The fact that cannot be contested is that Dumond was paroled by a vote of board members that were all appointed by liberal Democrats, not pardoned by Governor Huckabee who happens to be a Republican; these are two completely different things.


The parole board is an independent entity that used their constitutional power to secure Wayne’s release. In Arkansas, the Governor has no vote or say in this process. Huckabee’s only legal action in this case was to deny executive Clemency. These are facts that ABC not only didn’t present, but distorted either by incompetence or design.


The New Media Journal will be following up with ABC, Brian Ross, and Media Matters for America to see why none of them has acted on this blatant misreporting. At the very least ABC should be issuing a retraction and apology to Mike Huckabee.

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