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Media Cautious on Tulsa Killings

Posted: Apr 11, 2012


"Maybe it's the Trayvon Martin case, or maybe it's just the system working as it should, but news organizations are moving cautiously on the story of this weekend's shootings in Tulsa, Okla., which may -- may -- have been racially motivated," Andrew Beaujon reported Monday for the Poynter Institute.

A headline on TulsaWorld.com says, "Two arrested in north Tulsa shootings that claimed three lives." . . . The first line of Zack Stoycoff's story is: "Tulsa police have arrested two white men who are accused of killing three black residents and injuring two others in a shooting spree that authorities deemed 'unprecedented.'"

Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 33, are each being held at the Tulsa Jail and are accused of three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of shooting with intent to kill and a single complaint of possession of a firearm while committing a felony. Their bond totals exceeded $18 million, according to the Tulsa World.

A few paragraphs down, the story quotes an FBI agent who says, "It is way too early to call this a hate crime." Indeed, the suspects were charged today, but not with hate crimes.

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