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AP Links Serial Killer To Cub Scouts, But Why?

Dennis Rader of Park City, Kan., the man arrested in the BTK serial murder investigation in Wichita, Kansas, is a 59 year-old municipal codes enforcement supervisor. Neighbors remember him as an unpleasant man who often went looking for reasons to cite his neighbors for violations of city codes. It is possible that his job allowed him to get close to his victims under the veil of official business without arousing suspicions. There are also several other connection points to BTK victims in Rader's biography, yet the Associated Press chooses to focus its attention on one particular detail that seems totally unrelated to the story. Earlier today this is how the Associated Press was reporting the story:

Kansas Police Make Arrest in BTK Killings

Feb 26, 4:17 PM (ET)

By ROXANA HEGEMAN

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A manhunt for a serial killer who for 31 years taunted police with letters about his crimes ended Saturday when authorities said they finally caught up with the BTK killer and linked him to at least 10 murders.

Later in the day the Associated Press changed the headline of it's wire story; using a new angle to pump the story:
Cub Scout Leader Arrested in BTK Killings

By ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, February 26, 2005

(02-26) 20:56 PST Wichita, Kan. (AP) -- A 31-year manhunt for a serial killer who taunted police with letters about his crimes ended Saturday when authorities said they finally caught up with the man who called himself BTK and linked him to at least 10 murders.

According to the Wichita Eagle Dennis L. Rader:
  • Worked as a compliance supervisor in charge of animal control, nuisances, inoperable vehicles and general code compliance since about 1990
  • He worked for Coleman in the early 1970s -- as did two of BTK's early victims
  • He served in the military during the Vietnam era and worked for years at a home security company in Wichita
  • He attended Wichita State University -- long linked to the BTK case
Yet none of these details was worthy of a headline - only the unrelated service to the Cub Scouts is mentioned. The report does not indicate whether Rader's association with the Cub Scouts is in the past or present, but since his children are grown it's very possible that he is a former Cub Scout leader.

Wizbang reader John Dean (who alerted us to this change - and is not the Watergate figure) asks these questions of the AP:

"Is Mr. Rader currently registered with the BSA as a leader and actively serving in the capacity of a Cub Scout leader, or is this something from his past?

Did anyone bother to verify this?" Why is Mr. Rader's status as a Cub Scout leader any more newsworthy than his apparent membership in the Lutheran Church or they fact that he is married or that he appears to be heterosexual?"

Whether this is subtle bias, sensationalism, or just sloppy headline writing; it should be addressed by the AP.

Update: This AP story makes it sound like Rader is a former Cub Scout leader.


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Comments (23)

I'm going to guess 'sensati... (Below threshold)

I'm going to guess 'sensationalism', myself. "Compliance supervisor in charge of animal control, nuisances, inoperable vehicles and general code compliance" just doesn't have quite the same ring to it that "Cub Scout Leader" does, particularly since almost nobody knows somebody who's the former and oodles of people know somebody who's the latter.

Not that it's an excuse, but I think that it's not necessarily bias.

After politicians,the postm... (Below threshold)
Rich:

After politicians,the postman,catholic priests,mad scientists,and teachers,who else can get the crowd going,but a Cub Scout Leader. I am waiting for Nuns and Girl Scouts next....

Clearly this justifies San ... (Below threshold)
Justin B:

Clearly this justifies San Diego getting rid of the Cub Scouts on city property. Not only are they homophobic, but most of the leaders like to bind torture and kill people. I have heard enough.

\\sarchasm

The AP is a bunch of assholes for even associating the Cub Scouts with this guy. But it is typical. He was a Lutheran too. We better stay away from those Lutherans. If you or your kids participate in any church or Cub Scout related activity, you are just opening yourself up to being bound, tortured and killed.

Thanks for the warning AP! I just wish that you had told me years ago that McDonalds is the source of all obesity and had warned us that Bush=Hitler before 2000.

I'd agree that it's sensati... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I'd agree that it's sensationalism. The AP writer (or more likely her editor) probably wanted to add the old standby "good citizen next door is actually going to kill your children" fear inducer. Seems pretty pointless considering this is plastered all over every news outlet; the story's already out there, why they felt the need to juice it up is beyond me. But the AP is not exactly packed with genius writers (or editors).

I vote sensationalism as we... (Below threshold)

I vote sensationalism as well. I wrote a post a while back about an editorial regarding Nancy Seaman, a suburban housewife who went apeshit one day and hacked up her husband with an ax. The editorial spoke in breathless tones about how Seaman had managed to maintain a thin veneer of normalcy, and how the case showed that murderous intent can fester EVEN IN THE SUBURBS. Um, yeah...it's not like some of our nation's most notorious serial killers haven't been family men with good jobs, a wife and 2.3 children.

People are people, regardless of where they live. But contrast sells. The Boy Scouts are seen as wholesome and moral. What better way to sell paper than to juxtapose that image with one of the most elusive killers of the past century?

At least they refrained fr... (Below threshold)

At least they refrained from screaming PREACHER
from the headlines.

They're falling all over themselves the in quiet of the recess of MJ's fiasco. And besides, all the big dogs are in the Hamptons for the weekend.

- The AP has proven on enou... (Below threshold)

- The AP has proven on enough occasions, from the fiasco over the boo's that weren't, to all manners of missrepresentations with a liberal bent. They go for the hook, pure and simple. In the case where its an embarrisment to the liberal cause they either soften and offuscate, or simply refuse to even report the story, ie. the Kerry mess; the Rathergate mess, etc. They've taken yellow journalism to an art form, along with their press sister in crime, the NY Times, and others. Basically they've managed to outdo the rag tabloids. I think I wouldn't be surprised to see them run a piece on a bus load of dead Iraqi babys with Bush's face adorning a side panel Ad, with text referring to the ever present WMD's crapola, and ending with "Bush Lied and baby's died".....They're shameless....

Sir, In addition t... (Below threshold)
rcl:

Sir,

In addition to being a serial murderer/rapist, psychopath and professional clown, John Wayne Gacy was a lifelong Democrat who often worked with his local Democratic Party apparatus. I don't remember any mention of his party affiliation when they pulled the 33 bodies out from his home's crawlspace. I think the lesson is to always be associated with organizations and activities sanctioned by the Left.

rcl

rcl:Well, they did... (Below threshold)
cirby:

rcl:

Well, they did say he was a clown. Maybe they thought bringing up the Democrat angle was redundant.

The MSM and the ACLU have b... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

The MSM and the ACLU have been trying to destroy Awerica for decades. 15 years ago they came up with a new plan to dicredit the Scouts as a way of smearing America. They take every opportunity to slime anything American.

Yes, it should because that... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

Yes, it should because that is sloppy reporting. The man is 56 years old, a govt employee, worked at cleaning up and keeping a park neat. His reign of terror started in 1974 and ended in 1991. He hasn't done anything sincce except for the taunting letters of late which is how they caught him so fast Even his 26 year old daughter gave then a DNA sample. He hasn't done anything since 1991 for him to send letters to the police this week about the BTK, it's pretty obvious that he wanted to be caught before his next victim got lkilled so he make it easy for the police themselves. His pints and DNA is already on file becausd he's on file. But this whole thing started with his sent in letters before the fact instead of after the fadt. Basically he wanted to get caught. Why now? After all, it's been 15 years.
Something must have triggeres it or maybe he got: Pqssion" and it' bothered him enough to send BIK notes again out of th blud so if you ask me, he wanted to be caught and left enough clues that was easily caught. After all It's been 15 years! But there is no doubt he will pay for what he did. The man definifely needs a psychiatrist or phychologist. Seems to me he has remore and wants the families to have closure.

Just explaining.

Cindy


I vote a combination of bia... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I vote a combination of bias, and the desire for a good headline.

I have long maintained that there is no such thing as an unbiased media, and that the bias often comes out in the words they used to describe a person in the news (ie anyone to the right of center other than McCain gets the "right wing" label, but you never hear the media call Ted Kennedy a "left wing" liberal).

I figure Boy Scout Leader would be the best attention getter (the idea of headlines is to get people to read the actual articles)-but there most likely is some subtle bias involved as well.

KAKE-TV Wichita reported th... (Below threshold)
j.d.:

KAKE-TV Wichita reported that he WAS (not is) a Boy Scout leader; it aired a brief chat with a neighbor or fellow church member (I forget which).

I don't think it's political bias against the Scouts; rather, as many commnters above have written, it's sensationalism. He makes a better villain that way, I suppose.

If they neglected to mentio... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

If they neglected to mention Gacy's Democratic party activities were they equally fair by omitting Ted Bundy's Republican activities?

AP has no couth. They belo... (Below threshold)
epador:

AP has no couth. They belong in the supermarket checkout line, not the MSM. This is just another blatant example. Yawn.

I'm reminded of <a href="ht... (Below threshold)

I'm reminded of this old headline from the BBC about the conviction of John Allen Muhammad, the DC sniper:

Ex-soldier convicted as Washington sniper

His ex-profession, in the BBC's view, was more relevent than his current religion.

Maybe I'm overly suspicious... (Below threshold)
IChiWawa:

Maybe I'm overly suspicious of the MSM but this looks like an attempt to show that the cub scouts (and by inference the BSA) ignored a possible earlier arrest by focusing on keeping homosexuals out of it's leadership ranks. If he was a current Cub Scout leader it as least warrents being listed in his background, but if he hasn't been a CS leader for awhile it's truly shameful to isolate it for a headline.

Maybe it's because this guy... (Below threshold)

Maybe it's because this guy is a registered REPUBLICAN (lexis) thats gotten all your panties in a bunch. Quit whining about so called "liberal" media coverage...it doesn't exist. It's just another figment of the wacko republican agenda...get people to believe in WMD, get people to believe that gays are taking over the world, get people to believe that Iraq is a threat.

- Get people to believe tha... (Below threshold)

- Get people to believe that killing unborn babies is a high minded pursuit - but serial killers are just misunderstood and should be spared at all costs

- Get people to believe that innocent women and children are "little Eichemen" and deserved to die - but murdering scum that pass themselves off as "Religious martyrs" should be revered as "freedom fighters"....

- Get people to believe that "relativism" and avoidence of personal responsibility is a much more noble position than those "scumbag idiot voters" in the Red states with their stupid principles and value system....

- Get people to believe that somehow through tortured logic the leftard AssHats have finally gotten so far out over the cliff of backward thinking and brain cell death they can actually say that giving a despotically oppressed people the right to determine their own destiny is a bad terrible thing....

- Well I guess we have to accept that last one since its the only thing the Marxists haven't lied about in decades.....

- Btw....why are you clowns still here posting....I thought you all promised to move to Canada when you got your asses handed to you in the election....Oh thats right.... Turns out they don't want you "peace and love" crap either......

Get people to believe th... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Get people to believe that killing unborn babies is a high minded pursuit

The MSM make people believe that abortion is a high-minded pursuit? I don't know anyone who believes that.

Get people to believe that innocent women and children are "little Eichemen" and deserved to die - but murdering scum that pass themselves off as "Religious martyrs" should be revered as "freedom fighters"....

Did the MSM call people "little Eichemans"? No, some twit from Colorado that no one had ever heard of until the right-wing bloggers came along and made him a celebrity did. And where in the MSM are terrorists called freedom fighters?

Get people to believe that "relativism" and avoidence of personal responsibility is a much more noble position than those "scumbag idiot voters" in the Red states with their stupid principles and value system....

I wouldn't even know where to start in pointing out conservatives who avoid their personal responsibility.

Btw....why are you clowns still here posting....I thought you all promised to move to Canada when you got your asses handed to you in the election....Oh thats right.... Turns out they don't want you "peace and love" crap either......

Right, because some people said they would leave the country if Bush lost, that means that everyone on the left did, and should go. I never promised to move to Canada, so I'm still here. Sorry.

Sorry to interrupt your hatefest BBH

- mantis - get a grip.... y... (Below threshold)

- mantis - get a grip.... you're upset.... you ment to say "if Bush won"....and nice deflection since I was not attributing those positions to the MSM, but to the AssHats that have spewed that and worse on countless occassions....

- why you're putting yourself in the brain dead crowd when you've said before you're not the typical hard left Marxist ideolog isn't clear...

- As far as hate.... not at all.... more like sympathy for the pethetically delusional I'd say......

I did mean to say "if Bush ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I did mean to say "if Bush won", I'm not upset, and I thought we were talking about "liberal media coverage". My mistake. And to the asshats as you call them, I pay little attention.

I don't attribute the "Cub ... (Below threshold)

I don't attribute the "Cub Scout" reference to the well-known liberal bias in the media. I think it is part of the media desire to get another angle in the headline. When I was in the Navy it always bugged us that if a sailor got in trouble the fact they were in the Navy was considered as important as the crime. It's all about selling papers.




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