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Sun-Times Acts As Drew Peterson's Mouthpiece Again

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Sep 7, 2010 2:25PM

2010_01_19_Drew.jpg Okay, this is ridiculous. We felt kind of gray and fuzzy on it the first time around, but now? Once again, "columnist" Michael Sneed has given up an entire column over to republishing a letter from Drew Peterson, currently awaiting his trial for the murder of his third wife Kathleen Savio and still the prime suspect in the disappearance of wife number four Stacy Peterson. In this letter, Drew makes an "an impassioned media plea on behalf of his children," specifically prosecution (and what Drew alleges is persecution) against oldest son Stephen who is currently the primary caregiver for four of Peterson's kids: two with Savio and two with Stacy. Like the first letter, this one was handed directly from Peterson attorney Joel Brodsky to Sneed and reprinted (the lead-in says it's been "edited" though there's no word if the paper edited the letter or if, like the first one, it was edited by someone else in the Peterson camp before getting to the Sun-Times).

The letter presents Peterson's case and attack on prosecutors unfiltered with no rebuttal or response from those he attacks. While Peterson is innocent until proven guilty, he's still a suspect officially charged with murder and the publishing of the letter allows him to have control over the situation and make accusations unchecked, presenting a one-way flow of information, the paper doing Brodsky's work for him.

For the third time, in less than three years, my son Stephen is again being brought up on departmental charges of misconduct by Oak Brook Chief Sheehan stemming from trumped up gun charges I’m now facing in a Will County Court. The charges Stephen faced in the past were brought when he took a squad car to a Will County grand Jury while on duty under supeona for the case against me. The second charge was for the use of the departmental computer which were said to be unauthorized. Nothing could be more ridiculous ... I have no doubt that the Illinois State Police and the Will County States Attorney’s Office are also involved in this action against my son in an attempt to get at me.

It's not the letters being reprinted that's troublesome so much as it is the fact that the paper is giving Peterson a pulpit from which to preach without any checks and balances. In a way, it's similar to WLS giving Blago his own radio show from which he was able to espouse his own innocence week after week, but one would hardly consider talk radio to be a source of hard journalism (at least by anyone this side of the Fox News demographic). Still, when our ex-gov took to the airwaves, proclaiming his innocence to anyone that would listen and visiting talk show after talk show, he faced scrutiny, questioning. This is more than a jailhouse interview in which Peterson would have to face questioning of his claims by a reporter. Sure, Sneed is often considered a "gossip columnist" but she still falls under the umbrella of the Sun-Times, a source of news that should know better than to produce this type of hinky "journalism." For all the media coverage of Peterson, biased or not, he will eventually have his day in court and it's not the Sun-Times' job to give it to him.