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  1. #1
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    The Media and Hailey's Case

    What do you think of the media coverage of Hailey's case?

    At Websleuths one of our rules is we don't discuss people or perhaps certain theories unless they appear in the main stream media first.

    This way Websleuths can make sure we do not participate in the usual mud slinging and cruel gossip you see on other sites. We do our best to prevent it and stay above it all.

    In Hailey's case it seems the communication ball has been dropped. In My Opinion.

    It is because of Hailey's case and the misinformation put out there or the lack of any information that I have decided to take Websleuths in a bit of a different direction at times.

    From now on in cases where there are major questions I'm going to call the people designated to speak to the media and try and get the correct information. It takes a simple phone call to check on a fact or two.

    We have found out in Hailey's case the simplest bits of information become all gummed up and no one knows whether to wind their rear end or wipe their watch.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this case and the media.








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  2. #2
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    I think it has been handled poorly as well. I have followed many cases on Nancy Grace and on here where the Law Enforcement hold press conferences on said cases. I have not seen that done here in Hailey's case and I have been following her case since day one.

  3. #3
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    Hi Tricia,
    It has been atrocious!

    I mostly think, speaking for myself anyhow, that the majority of the confusion has come from Pete K, the CCity spokesperson who admittedly is out of the loop. He has made statements that for me, have gummed it up...

    I also feel that press conferences have not been held in a way that brings attention to the case of a missing child. Most of the ones that were held early on were only PK giving briefings to the media off camera and they were shoddy at best.

    There is such a distinct difference in the reporting...

    I just don't know where else to begin but I for sure would start with PK...

    LE needs to have their own spokesperson... as does the DA((obviously from today we are seeing that they are now at the stage where the DA is involved))

    moo and thanks for the thread

  4. #4
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    Thank you for starting this thread.

    I think the media took sides early on in this case and as a result reported only on things that would make "their side" appear "prettier".

    Regardless of which "side" they were on, it seems as if NO ONE VERIFIED anything; accuracy of the information which they were reporting; and spelling / grammatical errors.

    The "spokesperson" has provided inaccurate information from day 5 - really!

    The local media utilized NG as their source and after NG quit reporting daily...so did they.

    In the first 5 pages of the 1st HD thread, many of us began sending mass emails to local media and 3...yes only THREE of them replied stating they would "check on it". Out of those 3 only 1 of them actually reported anything about Hailey...BUT...when NG got involved...they ALL jumped on the story, as if they had been there from day 1. Infuriating for so many of us who worked so hard to get their attention.

    I also believe that local LE had a little tug of war with "outsiders" as after TX Rangers were "visibly" involved, an announcement was made that LE would be the "spokesperson"; saving us all from P Kampfer...however, that was short lived w/ NO explanation as to why!

    Oh my...I could go on and on!

    Essentially, Pete Kampfer is NOT anyone I would EVER, EVER, EVER recommend / suggest as a spokesperson; local media is not assertive enough and needs to stop waiting on someone else to report a "break" on FB, internet forums and blogs and most of all they need to stop taking sides and learn to report accurate information, regardless of whom it might offend!

  5. #5
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    I think they've done OK considering it's relatively small town media we're talking about. Abilene is the big metro area with only 160,000 people. I'm kind of surprised we haven't seen more Dallas area media interest but that has never seemed to materialize.

  6. #6
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    I believe the local media's coverage of Hailey's case has been less than stellar because they probably aren't used to covering a criminal investigation extensively. I wouldn't be surprised if the other missing children cases in the Abilene area were runways or child custody cases therefore the local media didn't cover them. They may not have "experience" with covering a child disappearance case in their own backyard.

  7. #7
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    Terrible Tricia. Throughout this case. Even tonight they say in print that they are searching the grandmother's house of Shawn Adkins, but the reporter in the video says the mother's house.

    The locals on FB called this early today. I was watching the events unfold on FB and even after the reporters were called all they had were FB comments. They were not on top of this at all. Locals were reporting LEO at the grandmother's house beginning at 1:30 this afternoon. The reporters didn't bother to go out until after Billie's arrest. Then they turned to Pete Kampher who is out of Town for their facts. How about calling the DA since clearly the DA's office was involved.

    The locals are more on top of this story than anything I read in MSM. It is the worst reporting I have seen on any case I've followed.

    I'm glad you are going to be proactive in this case.

  8. #8
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    Tricia, I like your approach. In more and more cases, I find that WS is ahead of the game, but because MSM is behind, it holds WS back.

  9. #9
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    I see this a little differently.

    Pete Kampfer may be irritating but for me it's more irritating to have media taking sides, spinning without the facts, and mis-reporting what PK actually said when you read the transcripts.

    This being a small-town case, maybe it's natural that people in the media would choose sides and spin it things due to their own biases. It worries me that other local stories might be covered this way to the point of ruining people's lives.

    Some people who said they were in the media even posted here and led folks down a primrose path of rumors trying to cast blame on CD and away from BD, and I personally resented that.

    The media are really the ones who should try to stay on the fence and be objective even if they have personal opinions that differ.

    Maybe it's just a case that the media became another victim early on when they let BD play mind-games with them, I'm not sure.

    Last night was really weird because even though the reporter was on the scene, he was confused about the location (Grandma? Mom? Town of Dunn? Big Spring? Somewhere Else?) and all his "facts" came from people who had been standing around watching since 1:30 pm that day. I realize these are wide-open spaces spread over three counties, but surely someone called the media in all that time, didn't they?

    But something is wrong when we here on WS can know stuff long before the local media. Someone just isn't paying attention to their biggest local story.
    Last edited by ThoughtFox; 03-18-2011 at 11:16 AM.

    I'm the proud mother of a new attorney!
    It's better to know some of the questions than all of the answers. ~ James Thurber
    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing ~ Edmund Burke
    Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense. ~ Mark Twain

  10. #10
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    One more thing ~ I think Pete Kampfer took the job of spokesperson as some type of "perk" of his job description and for some reason LE wasn't able to get control of information after that.

    I'm not an apologist for him at all, but he's not really a member of the "media," so for me he only deserves part of the blame.

    You would expect that with the FBI and Texas Rangers involved, there might have been more press conferences, which we have seen in numerous other cases as a matter of course. But not in this case. Kampfer just said over and over that they didn't want to "show their hand" with releasing too much info too soon.

    Still, I don't believe in the "kill the messenger" approach. It's easy to blame PK, but local reporters could have asked him some harder questions at every opportunity. There was just no good follow-up on anything.

    For instance the "dogs at the hotel" thing, which was never fully explained. Local television said the dogs "tracked" from BD's house to the hotel, and that was repeated on Nancy Grace. Pete Kampfer came out the next day and scornfully said that wasn't true, that the dogs were "taken" to the hotel and hit on a room. But why didn't they follow Hailey's trail from her home? What did they do? Where was the follow-up news story that explained exactly what happened that day? And why didn't the local TV stations follow the dogs around better and report exactly what they saw? That would be . . . reporting, wouldn't it?

    I'm the proud mother of a new attorney!
    It's better to know some of the questions than all of the answers. ~ James Thurber
    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing ~ Edmund Burke
    Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense. ~ Mark Twain


  11. #11
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    This is just a feeling, but it seems as though the more dirt that came about Billie and SA and her family, etc (mom), the less interest in the case by the media. And maybe by extension the public as well. I think it is human nature to "turn off" to a story if the people involved are somewhat questionable, and in this case, Hailey is the one who is suffering if this is true. It has always shocked me that the large cities in TX have not been reporting on this case and NG only picked it up again when the porn was discovered, as that is up her alley.

    And then when the media does cover the case, they get so much wrong, or twisted, or left open for debate. And we know from FB that the media is NOT on top of the case; FB gets word out that something is going down at the house and then heads over there. Something is wrong with this picture.
    Just my opinion, of course.

  12. #12
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    I think that some double checking of facts is certainly prudent but as some of us have found out - it may not be possible. Information is withheld, mis-understood, or deliberately released wrong. In such cases, the various angles is all that people can go on. Eventually, things solidify down but that can take weeks or months to happen.

    That said it never hurts to make a phone call. Either your phone call will not be returned, or you will get the polite brush-off. But you can still try.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThoughtFox View Post

    You would expect that with the FBI and Texas Rangers involved, there might have been more press conferences, which we have seen in numerous other cases as a matter of course. But not in this case. Kampfer just said over and over that they didn't want to "show their hand" with releasing too much info too soon.

    Still, I don't believe in the "kill the messenger" approach. It's easy to blame PK, but local reporters could have asked him some harder questions at every opportunity. There was just no good follow-up on anything.

    For instance the "dogs at the hotel" thing, which was never fully explained. Local television said the dogs "tracked" from BD's house to the hotel, and that was repeated on Nancy Grace. Pete Kampfer came out the next day and scornfully said that wasn't true, that the dogs were "taken" to the hotel and hit on a room. But why didn't they follow Hailey's trail from her home? What did they do? Where was the follow-up news story that explained exactly what happened that day? And why didn't the local TV stations follow the dogs around better and report exactly what they saw? That would be . . . reporting, wouldn't it?
    One thing to remember is that in some investigations Media can be either your best friend or your worst enemy. There are many times you just don't want them around and you do your level best to dodge and duck them. I have had searches rescheduled because Media or others found out and we didn't want them out there seeing what we were doing or where the dogs went. Many departments have a gentleman's agreement with media to 'ignore' the story with the promise that when the big break happens they will be the first to know and get the scoop.

    One of the other ethical conundrums is that there are many people on these forums who are involved with investigations who read/know about what is posted but cannot devulge/confirm/deny/answer questions that are being asked. We just shrug our collective shoulders and play along that we know as little as everyone else because we have to respect an ongoing investigation.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuziQ View Post
    Tricia, I like your approach. In more and more cases, I find that WS is ahead of the game, but because MSM is behind, it holds WS back.
    I do know one thing, Websleuths played a very large part in this case garnering such media attention. I happened to follow this case from the first post alerting us that Hailey was missing, by darlin gal, and posted early in the first Hailey thread. It took a few days to get to just the 4th page of posts, which is not unlike many threads in the missing forum, often because of lack of info provided by media. But over the next couple of days momentum started to build in the Hailey thread, which was surely helped along by Billie's good friend posting, and which led to WS members contacting Nancy Grace and making her aware of Hailey's disappearance. Billie's appearance on Nancy Grace really did a lot to increase the attention local and national media paid to Hailey's disappearance.

    Thinking about all this brings up the obvious question of why Nancy pretty much decided to stop covering Hailey (I know there is a gripe about NG thread but I think it's very pertinent to this discussion). Also, I think when you look at many of the cases in the missing forum you'll see that local media around the country takes much less interest in exploring those disappearances (at least in this case we've gotten affidavits and raw video of interviews). For whatever reasons, Hailey's story (and I don't think you can separate her story from all the associated stuff with her family) has garnered a much greater amount of interest on Websleuths and in local media than the average disappearance, due in a great part to WS, the media and Facebook all influencing each other.

  15. #15
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    I think LE in this case should have behaved and handled this case as was done in the Brittany Mae Smith out of VA. Local LE there held PC's everyday and kept everyone in the know. She was brought home safely.

    I realize we are dealing with many counties and many LE agencies here, but they each should have a spokesperson....who is in the loop of the investigation itself....and someone overseeing and being a spokes person for the whole overall investigation. A current FBI spokesperson!!!

    PK maybe holding or putting bad info out for a reason.........but it should be consistant with what other agencies are doing..... This was apparently not happening last night....at all.


    JMO

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