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Anita Alvarez's unflattering '60 Minutes' interview

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Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez sat down with '60 Minutes' in a segment that aired on national TV this weekend. In it, she suggests that necrophilia was a possible reason why the DNA of an uncharged serial rapist was found in a victim's body, while someone else who gave a confession was charged with the murder.
The piece talks about Cook County leading the nation in false confessions.

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1 Comment

December 13, 2012
RE: Major disappointment
Dear 60 Minutes:
Your show is the one show where my children are required to remain absolutely silent. To put it into perspective, understand that I allow them to talk during Bears games but, when 60 Minutes is on, SILENCE. The only other show that I shush them for is Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me on NPR. I’m sure your marketing people have a label for someone like me so I’m ‘that guy’.
I watched your segment on Chicago’s history of testimony coercion by the police department which exposed one of many humbling aspects of our City’s history. Burges, the prince of coerced confessions, is yet another black eye in our dire portfolio. But I also noticed that you decided to leave out of your story many facts that really puzzled, and deeply disappointed me.
For example, I noticed that in your effort to demonize Anita Alvarez you left out that she has been our State’s Attorney for only 4 years. Yet, the crimes you referred to were well over 15 years old but you opted to never make that distinction. I immediately knew something wasn’t right about your segment and my beliefs were confirmed when I saw the response by Ms. Alvarez to you. It turns out you intentionally (and shamelessly) left out the following:
1. One of the murder cases in your story wasn’t located in Chicago at all, but in Dixmoor, IL. And the case was handled by the Dixmoor Police, not Chicago’s. But you continually stressed how Chicago’s Police Department was the culprit that made the City the “False Confession Capital” in the country. So why did you choose to profile a case from the far south suburbs? It seems you should have been able to find at least one other case that was actually committed in the City. Couldn’t you?
2. You reported that one of the victims had semen in her from another convicted rapist. True. But you left out that she also had at least 2 other distinct semen samples in her mouth which is common, or at least highly probably, among prostitutes. Why, I wonder, would you leave that out of your dramatic story?
3. Your hero in the story, the redeemed prosecutor Bob Milan, was in the room with the defendants during their confessions. In fact, Bob wrote, in his own hand, the confession which was eventually signed by the defendants. Yet, 60 Minutes never mentioned that. Did you leave that out b/c you didn’t want to taint your hero?
4. Anita Alvarez had already dismissed the cases mentioned in your story by the time you interviewed her. Did 60 Minutes bother to mention that?
5. True journalists don’t take sides. They report and remain unbiased. That’s the mantra taught in any reputable college. Can you honestly say that 60 Minutes didn’t ‘take sides’ in this story? How about when you cut away from Ms. Alvarez and then focused on the crying mother? That was wonderfully dramatic. I applaud the drama skills at 60M. But, do you call that unbiased?
6. One more fact. One of the mothers of the defendants was in the interrogation room with the defendant the entire time during the interrogation. And, like all of the details I described above, the folks at 60 Mintues knew that. Tell me, was that the same mother that you showed crying in your segment or a different mother? And why was there only 1 parent showcased in segment? The defendants were still relatively young. Am I to assume that 60 Minutes could only locate ONE parent out of the entire bunch? I seriously doubt that. What are you hiding this time, I wonder?
CBS knows very well that a good drama has a villain and a hero. I realize now that 60 Minutes has been a dramatic series for CBS all along. I thought the show had matured since its ‘Insider’ days, but on the contrary; you’ve digressed. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve been duped by your writers for many years now. I’m not angry. In fact, I’m grateful to have sixty minutes of my week back. I plan to dedicate those sixty minutes to my family instead of wasting it on biased story telling. But, in fairness, I should tell you that my kids are still going to be subjected to some quiet time on Saturday mornings. I’m not giving up on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. At least, on that show, they don’t pretend to be something they are not.
Sincerely,

Robert Gomez
X-viewer of 60 Minutes, The Drama

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