News Media Coverage and National Hysteria

On February 3, 1984, at the start of a ratings "sweeps" month, when local television stations presented their most sensationalistic programming in a fierce battle for more viewers and advertising dollars, KABC reporter Wayne Satz dropped an exclusive bombshell on his stunned viewers, reporting that over 60 children interviewed at CII had told authorities that "he or she had been keeping a grotesque secret of being sexually abused and made to appear in pornographic films while in the preschool's care — and of having been forced to witness the mutilation and killing of animals to scare the kids into staying silent."19

The exclusive report set off a television news ratings war that endured for most of the six remaining years that the McMartin defendants were tried in the criminal courts. Coverage on television and in the print media as a whole, locally and nationally, was highly sensationalistic and blatantly pro-prosecution. Kee MacFarlane was touted as an expert who had skillfully unveiled the children's horrible secrets of sex abuse; reporters did not bother to challenge official pronouncements by therapists and prosecutors or research the issues behind the case in a manner consistent with responsible journalism. As a result, defendants, children, and the general public suffered from a wave of hysteria and false allegations of child sex abuse that swept across the nation.20

On March 22, 1984, Ray Buckey and six women associated with the preschool, including Buckey's sister, mother, and grandmother, were indicted by a grand jury on 115 counts of child sexual abuse. Two months later, appointed District Attorney Robert Philobosian, whose strategy for winning the upcoming primary election was to hype his leadership role in the McMartin prosecution, brought the indictment count up to 208, involving 40 alleged child victims.21 The defendants faced prison terms ranging from 96 years for Virginia McMartin to 776 years for Raymond Buckey.22 By the time the indictments were read, 24 parents had already filed $1 million lawsuits against the preschool.23
 

The Dark Truth About the "Dark Tunnels of McMartin"

bulletThe Beginning
bulletThe Accusation
bulletThe Letter
bulletChildren's Institute International
bulletHysteria Spreads
bulletNews Media Coverage and National Hysteria
bulletFollowing the Money
bulletDr. Roland C. Summit
bulletSatanic Trappings and the Search for The Secret Rooms and Tunnels
bulletIncredibly Weak Evidence
bulletSummit Defends MacFarlane's Interviews of the McMartin Children, Without Reviewing the Interviews
bulletJudy Johnson's Increasingly Bizarre Behavior
bulletThe Trial Verdicts
bulletParents Begin Search For Tunnels
bulletRevisionist History: Judy Johnson and The Dark Tunnels of McMartin
bulletThe Third McMartin Trial
bulletEthics, Professors, Indiana Jones, Switzerland, and Early (Very Early) Man
bulletTunnel Precursors
bulletBob Currie
bulletOrigin of a Secret Room
bulletFrom Santa Claus To Lions
bulletMultiple Molestations: Devils, a Dead Baby, and a Ghost
bulletTunnel Therapy
bulletThe District Attorney's Excavation
bullet[MAP]
bulletAnalysis of the Report on the 186 (minus one page) Manhattan Tunnel Project (MTP) by E. Gary Stickel
bulletMTP Archeological Methodology Employed by E. Gary Stickel
bulletSite Contamination By Manhattan Tunnel Project
bulletPhotographic Documentation of the MTP Archeological Procedures
bulletStickel's Conclusions About the Evidence He Claims to Have Obtained from the Archeological MTP Project
bulletThe Missing Tunnel
bulletEstimating Dates of "Tunnel" Artifacts
bulletConclusions
bulletEndnotes
 

 
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