Archive for February, 2005

The Media Never Learns

The following is a letter I submitted to the SLO Tribune today. I am refering to the article “Paso woman found guilty of murder” in the Tribune on Sat, Feb. 26, 2005.

I was horrified when I opened up the Saturday, February 26th edition of the Tribune and saw that the paper repeated the same misleading practice that had occurred only one week earlier! A picture with the caption “Celis reacts as the verdict is read” was placed below a photo of Isabel Celis with her hand to her face, once again implying that she was crying. In the ninth paragraph of the article it reads that “Isabel Celis remained stoic — just as she had for most of the trial — as a court clerk read the verdicts.” Upon replaying the video of her when the verdict was read, I realized she never even took this pose at the time the verdict was read!

This photographic error might be overlooked as a simple mistake by an intern but the first line of the article was even more shocking. “Isabel Celis did not kill Norma Barto”!?! Ryan Huff’s coverage of the Celis trial has been a consistent barrage of one sided reporting culminating in his minimizing the crime by saying that she was technically found not guilty of murder! May I remind the readers that she was found guilty of 1st degree, premeditated murder? Just because the Jury gave her the benefit of the doubt to her enhancement charges doesn’t mean she isn’t a murderer. Norma Barto, a sweet, loving, soft spoken woman who dedicated her life to helping others, and who literally gave food off her table and her own bed to Isabel Celis, was then brutally beaten to death in Celis’ front yard. No matter how you want to twist the facts Ryan, this is true. This isn’t just another news story to the hundreds of people in this community who loved Norma and are still mourning her loss. I understand your motivation is to sell papers and get your promotion, but trying to call an apple and orange not only is insulting to the victim’s family but also to the intelligence of your educated readers.

~Tim Alatorre

San Luis Obispo Tribune – Paso woman found guilty of murder}

San Luis Obispo Tribune | 02/26/2005 | Paso woman found guilty of murder

Please note that not all statments in the news media are true. See my other posts for clarification.

Day 8: People vs Isabel Celis – Guilty of First Degree Murder!}

At 2:40pm after almost 24 hours of deliberation the jury, having reached a verdict, entered the courtroom. The court clerk read that Isabel Celis was found guilty of Murder in the first degree and not guilty to enhancements number 1 and 2. Isabel remained emotionless and was escorted from the courtroom without fanfare. After the reading of the verdict the media was in a frenzy to interview the attorneys and family. Due to the extreme emotion of the day the family declined comment. The jury foreman did tell the media that the jury believed Norma never had a weapon or threatened Isabel. They said that whether or not Isabel ever had the weapon of if only her son did could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Throughout the two weeks of trial both attorneys displayed their distinct styles. Karen, the DA, was reluctant to dramatize or show emotion. She was, however, very organized and her questioning was direct, clear, and moved quickly. Denton Wilson was the exact opposite. He was very dramatic, often theatrical in acting out scenarios. He seemed very disorganized, his questioning was often random and seemed to be going nowhere. Many times during the trial he would put some jury members to sleep with his endless questionings that seemed irrelevant. I think that both their styles had some positive and negative traits. Karen?s organization and clarity made it easy for the jury to follow and understand what she was doing, however her lack of emotion made her seem uninterested and may have hurt her credibility at times. Wilson?s drama was entertaining but sometimes hurt his defense, as his witnesses were unable to act out what they testified to happening. He also was often times unable to keep the jury interested. He was however, very strong in his opening and closing statements and I think this may have resulted in his partial victory with the enhancement charges.


Day 7: People v. Isabel Celis ? Closing Arguments

The following contains information regarding the trial. If you are a juror please do not read this until your role in the trial has ended.

Closing arguments were presented this morning and the jury endered the jury room at 2:45pm. …

San Luis Obispo Tribune – Mother says son was the killer}

San Luis Obispo Tribune | 02/23/2005 | Mother says son was the killer

Please note that not all statments in the news media are true. See my other posts for clarification.

San Luis Obispo Tribune – Paso murder defendant says her son killed Norma

San Luis Obispo Tribune | 02/22/2005 | Paso murder defendant says her son killed Norma Barto after she tried to attack her

Please note that not all statments in the news media are true. See my other posts for clarification.

Day 5 – (Partial) This woman is nuts!

I havn’t finished writing my synopsis for day 5 yet but I wanted to post some interesting things.

Isabele said that while Miguel was suposedly killing Norma “by himself” she went into her bedroom and watched cartoons with her grandson!

She also…

The Media Only Gives Half

I’ve had the “rare” opportunity to view media bias at it’s worse. I think that we often slip into the belief that whatever we read in the paper, of whatever we see on the TV news is the truth. We read it and we accept it, often with out any thought. News is defined as: “information about current events [and] the important events or developments that have taken place on a particular day.” What is lacking from this definition is the person who decides what information to present.

In the current trial of The People v. Isabel Celis I have obviously been following with particular interest. I have been in court 3 of the last 4 days of the trial and had two family members in the courtroom the day I missed. Given my first hand experience I am in an unusual position to critic the information in the media. Everyday in court this week Ryan Huff of the San Luis Obispo Tribune has been present. There have also been other reporters but Mr. Huff has drawn my attention because of his total misrepresentation of the truth. (more…)

SLO Tribune Letter to the Editor

In my pursuit to end media bias the score is now 9,086,412,374 to 1!

In the printed article on Feb. 15th, “Mother’s murder confession called a smokescreen,” a picture was put near the article showing Isabele in a position that looked to…

San Luis Obispo Tribune – Murder of Norma Barto}

San Luis Obispo Tribune | 02/19/2005 | Murder of Norma Barto

Please note that not all statments in the news media are true. See my other posts for clarification.