Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 

Why I’m Not Cutting the Knoxville News Sentinel Any Slack.

When information given to you by somebody else turns out to be false, there are only two possible causes. Either the source was wrong, or the source was lying.

Check back through the email exchanges with Jaime Satterfield in this post and see if you can tell which side Satterfield puts Katie on. If you aren't sure, let me point you to another exchange Ms. Satterfield had, this time on a public forum.
Jamie Satterfield
03-08-2011, 08:34 PM
As far as I can tell, no one has come forward to say they saw this couple give Henry a fatal dose of methadone. That leaves KCSO with nothing more than hearsay, which is inadmissible in court. Not to mention that the initial claim was that Henry suffered broken ribs, a broken jaw and a skull fracture when the medical examiner specifically ruled out any proof of such injuries. (Emphasis mine)
Should we be targeting dealers who supply people like Henry with drugs? Absolutely. KCSO certainly can and should try to build a case via traditional and legally acceptable means - send in a snitch and record buys, for example. But there simply is no prosecutable case based on what the family has so far revealed.

There are at least four instances in these two links of Jaime Satterfield either implying or outright saying that Katie has been deceptive in discussing Henry's injuries, and that this ruins her credibility. The problem is that the case files document conclusively that Katie was not spinning, manipulating, or in any way distorting the truth. Instead, she was accurately conveying the medical information given to her at the time by the physicians and caregivers at two separate hospitals. Satterfield didn't know that because she didn't have the background knowledge to read and understand the medical files, nor did she have the complete medical files, only the edited version supplied by the Knox County Sheriff's Department. Despite this lack of information, when the ME's report came out several weeks after Henry died, Satterfield concluded that since the ME found no evidence that there was any trauma from the attack, Katie must have been distorting the truth. In essence, Satterfield ignored all the medical reports in the case file, ignored the fact that every doctor who examined Henry believed that his trauma came from an assault and said so to the Granju family, ignored all of that in order to accuse Katie of distorting the truth.

So, why would she assume that Katie was lying? Arrogance springing from her own ignorance? Or was she primed to believe the worst, and if so, who colored her perceptions? Is the bias limited to Satterfield, or does it extend throughout the KNS?

My questions go even deeper. How is it that a seasoned reporter like Satterfield fails to do basic research in order to understand a medical file? A minute or two on Google, and Satterfield would have known that the case file did note bruising on Henry's chest, saving the KNS no small amount of embarrassment. A simple timeline would have shown that when Katie was talking about details of the assault and Henry's injuries, her descriptions were consistent with the medical documents of the same time period. Had Don Jacobs taken the time to look at the medical files Katie brought to him, the KNS would have had a fuller picture of Henry's medical condition as observed by the medical professionals who saw him while he was alive.

That makes two separate reporters, both of whom discounted Katie's reports of what happened to Henry.

What bothers me most about this is that the KNS does not show any of this skepticism towards the KCSD. While they question virtually every word out of Katie's mouth, they accept without question the pronouncements from the KCSD, even the ones that are demonstrably in error.

I can't come up with a reasonable explanation for the disparity in treatment shown by the KNS that doesn't involve some sort of institutional bias at the paper. Maybe there is one; maybe Jack McElroy will be able to explain exactly why his paper has missed the boat so badly on this story. And it's clear to anybody with an open mind that they have missed it. As other news organizations begin to look more closely at the events surrounding the death of Henry Granju, we will learn more about what happened that night at the Houser home, why the KCSD investigation went nowhere, how a KPD detective became so heavily involved in a KCSD case, and why, despite ample evidence of drug dealing and confessions of robbery, the case was closed with no arrests, and no additional investigation. And we may even find out why the KNS shows no interest in any of these questions. At this point, I'm hoping that the answers to all of these questions boil down to indifference coupled with incompetence.

But I'm no longer counting on it.

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I too remain curious about the role played by the KNS in relation to the Henry Granju case. There have been so many legitimate questions connected to Henry's case in the past year and a half that news reports and investigative stories should have sprung from the ground like mushrooms in the morning dew. And yet, the opposite happened at the KNS, where published pieces steadily stifled the notion that reasonable people could differ from the conclusions drawn by the KCSO.

At times, the absence of reported information from non-KCSO sources left me wondering if KNS reporter(s) were instructed against seeking additional perspectives. McElroy almost suggests as much when he claims responsibility for the hyperbolic style of Satterfield's "Living and dying" piece. Of course, KNS personnel have defended their own work related to this story when challenged in discussion forums and elsewhere (your emails, for instance). Still, I wonder how much independence Satterfield and others were actually given to explore and report on the Granju story? Was further investigation actively discouraged? And if so, by whom?
Posted by Luke  on  09/28  at  10:31 PM

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