I admit it. I post hot-button topic questions on the Daily Local News Facebook page. It’s intentional. The goal is to strike a nerve – to strike up the conversation. And further, just about every other newspaper or media outlet does the same thing.
We are engaging our audience. We are trying to find that “sweet spot,” the place where your passion is, your rage, your anger and your sense of “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore…” And most times, it works.
Take stories like the Jerry Sandusky story, the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case or just about any national story involving the president. Within minutes the Facebook “phone lines” are lighting up with comments. And they go back and forth with readers punching and jabbing.
Well not today. And the phenomenon is quite interesting.
Today a jury in Philadelphia convicted Monsignor William Lynn on a single count of child endangerment. He was acquitted of two other charges and also of the conspiracy charges. Father James Brennan’s case ended in a mistrial as the jury was deadlocked.
One would think the results of the jury’s decisions would have kicked off a firestorm – on both sides.
After more than an hour, nothing. Zippo. Not one comment. Nada.
So what does that mean you ask? I suppose it could mean a lot of things. First, it could possibly mean that people are reluctant to bash a priest although I doubt it. As this case dragged out I saw lots of comments. And some are eager to defend the same priests. Tough to do that now.
Perhaps people are tired of the whole case. I doubt that too because now the message is priests will be put on trial like the witches of Salem. Right or wrong, it’s gonna happen.
So what’s the deal? Why the silence?
Well first of all, anyone charged with a crime must face the music. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, who you know, what you do or what you have done. You face a jury of your peers or the judge and you pay your time for your crime. Or not…
So yes, I know Lynn and Brennan are priests. But that doesn’t excuse them from the legal system more than it does for a crooked cop, judge, Little League coach or teacher. There were some serious allegations and they had their day in court.
The jury heard the evidence and made its decision. Now we have to live with it and move forward. But the Facebook silence to me is still stunning. And puzzling.
Was Lynn guilty of what he was charged with? How about Brennan? I called it in reverse. I believe that Brennan was going to be found guilty and Monsignor Lynn would walk.
And I thought you’d be way more vocal about the results.
Shows how much I know, right?
— Andy Hachadorian