Media Limits Full Coverage of Newsman’s Murder

By all accounts, George Weber was a “really good, good guy.”  In the words of his grieving family, the veteran WABC Radio newsman was “a truly caring person who loved and was loved by all he met.”

There is no doubt this is the side of Weber that his family should cherish as they struggle with the reality that their loved-one died an unquestionably gruesome death.

Weber was found last weekend in his Brooklyn apartment, slashed to death with no less than 50 stab wounds; discovered naked with his ankles bound by duct tape.  Police quickly discovered that Weber prowled Craigslist for sex with gay, S & M partners.  Photos of his escapades were strewn across his apartment when his lifeless body was discovered.

Within 48 hours of the discovery, the murderer, who police identified through e-mail to Weber, was found at a bus stop, arrested, and confessed to the slaying within hours.

Open and shut case, right?

Not so fast.  It seems that merely half the story has been told in this case of the newsman becoming the news.  A scan of the coverage reveals what few journalists would likely admit: that they muted the apparent revelation of crimes allegedly committed by their colleague.

Once the killer was apprehended, news stories correctly referenced the 16-year-old killer as a satanist who choked and masturbated George Weber for $80 after they shared alcohol and cocaine, and later admitted to the grisly killing.

Make no doubt about it.  This kid should spend the rest of his miserable life behind bars for this unthinkable crime.

Of course anything may pale in comparison to the tragic death suffered by Weber, but reporters have a duty to report all the news, not just the most salacious and compelling parts.  The news coverage here begs questions about this murder and this victim.

Why are reporters reluctant to fully acknowledge that this 47 year-old murder victim was at the same time an alleged perpetrator targeting a teen victim for sexual molestation?

Is it possible that he did not know that his one-night stand was only 16 years old?  Yes, but clearly Weber was looking to play with someone who was arguably under-aged.  Few can doubt based on preliminary reports from police that Weber had a dark side, living on the edge in the risky world of online sex for sale.

For years now Americans have been captivated by confrontations on NBC TV’s “To Catch a Predator” series where reporter Chris Hansen reads transcripts of explicit e-mails from grown men as they each enter a house expecting sex with a teenager.  Unfortunately, George Weber appeared like a prime prospect for Hansen’s sting operation, and had Weber not faced his grim demise, perhaps he would have been caught under other circumstances in the future.

Other questions remain as well: Did George Weber have sex with other teenagers, offering them drugs, alcohol, and cash?  What have the police detected in Weber’s e-mail account that would reveal whether or not he was in fact a sexual predator?  Are efforts being made by social services to reach potential alleged victims of Weber’s?

George Weber’s colleagues in the news world have limited the truth in order to distract from the possibility that newsman Weber may also allegedly have been pedophile Weber.

Weber’s confessed murderer should be tried as an adult and never again see the light of day for his heinous crime against this veteran newsman.  He is a predator who deserves no pity.  The victim’s family deserves this justice.

Then the other facts about George Weber should also be fully known so the subjects of his own alleged crimes can be provided their own justice.

The truth should matter more than anyone’s right to privacy or protection from his co-workers.  Shame on George Weber’s fellow journalists who got his final story only half right.

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