A shameful media creation

It only took two weeks for the media feeding frenzy to turn John Mark Karr into a household name. The unknown, and obviously mentally-ill, Karr played his 15 minutes of fame to the hilt and a search by a media trade publication found more than 10 million articles about the previously unknown Karr.

Reports Editor and Publisher:

After two weeks of frenzied and often jump-to-conclusions media coverage, Colorado prosecutors on Monday dropped their case against John Mark Karr over the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

Prosecutors threw out the case after DNA tests failed to place Karr at the crime scene despite reports he had confessed to killing the six-year-old.

An Associated Press article late Monday referred to how "a hyperactive press went into overdrive, eager to pronounce guilt." It also noted that the AP and other news organizations "placed teams of journalists on Karr’s flight from Bangkok to the United States and chronicled his dining experience" of champagne, fried king prawns and roast duck.

"The warrant on Mr. Karr has been dropped by the district attorney," Karr’s defence attorney Seth Temin said Monday. "They are not proceeding with the case….We’re deeply distressed by the fact that they took this man and dragged him here from Bangkok with no forensic evidence confirming the allegations against him and no independent factors leading to a presumption that he did anything wrong."

A Google search for "John Mark Karr," who was unknown until this month, came up with 10,800,000 results at the time of the latest twist. "John Mark Karr" with "Ramsey" added produced 6.7 million returns.

In an article 11 days ago, E&P was among the first to question the initial assumption on the part of many in the media that Karr was almost certainly guilty, in an article headlined, "Rush to Judgment in JonBenet Case?"