Out of the Past: Ordeal by Newspaper

Americans were shocked by the story of a petite 72-year-old grandmother getting "Tased" during a routine traffic stop in Texas last month. Dash-cam video of the screaming grandmother and strapping, Taser-wielding deputy were a YouTube hit. Now, a second story from central Texas has emerged involving the "Tasing" of an elderly woman. However, this was what might be called a journalistic "Tasing." The victim was 81-year-old Lori Adams of Smithville - a town of 4,400 residents about 40 miles southeast of Austin, the capital. Adams' tormentors were a young newspaper reporter, Andrea Lorenz, and her editors at the Austin-American Statesman.What happened to the 81-year-old in the space of three days is a parable on how easily the news media can hold up people to public admiration, and then destroy their reputations - all for the sake of the public's right to know. It raises questions about the ethics and values of Lorenz and her editors. And it provokes larger...(Read Full Article)