In the aftermath of the United Airlines incident that resulted in a passenger being physically dragged off a plane, details of the victim’s past has emerged. The local press in the victim’s hometown of Kentucky began reporting the victim’s previous arrests that resulted in his conviction of multiple felonies. People online have been rushing to the defense of the victim questioning why his past arrests were relevant to this current incident. The trend of reporting on a victim’s past offenses has been in existence for years, but why has this practice been so widely accepted?
To help answer this question Morning Shift talks with Joe Mathewson former Supreme Court correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and a professor at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism about the ethical responsibility news organizations have when publishing the details of a victim’s past.