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Televised Executions

May 12, 1991

I read with interest the two columns dealing with televised executions. It seems to me that a major question remains unexplored in these two opinions: What images will this "neutral witness" called television show to its viewers? When considering the concern of Salarno and the rights of the victims, will the TV audience learn that most of them were white? When analyzing the "moral lesson" and "legitimate social policy goal" that Moran discusses, will the viewers be privileged to learn that most of the criminals put to death are black? Considering that the "neutral" television medium currently bombards its viewers with disproportionate images of blacks as hoodlums, as being on welfare and as the social group that complicates our educational system, I wonder how they will be portrayed in these executions? Who will decide what images to show and how will these images reflect the capital punishment system? These questions can probably be better answered through televised debate, rather than a trial-and-error media execution.

JOHN R. PARBST, Fullerton

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