Our Unaccountable, Irresponsible, Incompetent, Untrustworthy News Media, Ethan Couch Division.

CNN's credibility

CNN’s credibility

(Yes, apparently this is going to be Blank Graphic Saturday.)

I just watched a CNN report that stated, “Ethan Couch’s attorney convinced the judge that the teen suffered from “‘Afflienza”‘

This is 100% false. The judge never said a word about “affluenza” in her order, nor did her words to Couch suggest that she agreed with the lawyer’s desperate “affluenza” theory, conveyed by a paid expert.  (There is no such malady as “affluenza.”)

This is not in dispute: the judge did NOT accept this theory, and the fact that she gave the teen probation with a heavy load of conditions—another fact left out of the CNN report on Couch’s disappearance—does not suggest that she did. Thus CNN is spreading a narrative rather than conveying truth, in the process ignoring easily available evidence (the court transcript) that has not changed in two years and intentionally misleading its audience.

A news organization that allows this to happen cannot and must not be trusted.

About anything


14 thoughts on “Our Unaccountable, Irresponsible, Incompetent, Untrustworthy News Media, Ethan Couch Division.

  1. The fact that they all do it makes it worse, not better.

    I lost faith in MSM when I saw a documentary where two editors unashamedly described a story as “too good to check”.

    Infotainment. I suspect ’twas ever thus, though it used to be that not everyone was a Randolph Hurst.

    • Michael – we can’t, not reliably.
      I tend to go to primary sources – using Austlii for example on reported judgments.

      This one’s pretty good though:

      Two weeks after the crash, in July 2013, Ethan was shipped off to a posh rehab facility in Newport, California, that offers equine therapy and cooking classes. When he checked in, he had a broken neck, a broken rib, and a broken arm. Every week, Fred and Tonya flew out, always first class, to see their son and to participate in group therapy. They didn’t miss a weekend. But after 62 days—against the advice of Dr. Miller and the people treating Ethan—Fred pulled his son out and brought him home. The rehab bill had run to $90,000.

      “Quite frankly,” Fred testified, “I was running out of money.”

      Most people, including Miller, thought Ethan would return to Newport after the December sentencing hearing. Instead he went to a facility in Vernon, Texas, with fences and guard towers. After several months there, he was transferred to a program in Amarillo, where he’s taking classes and doesn’t see his parents very often.

      Fred and Tonya split up again a few months after the crash. The stress was overwhelming. In the summer of 2014, Fred was charged with impersonating a police officer in North Richland Hills. The circumstances aren’t clear, and his attorney advised him not to answer questions about the incident during his deposition. But apparently officers responded to a disturbance call in the middle of the night, and, when they arrived, Fred was there. He identified himself as a Lakeside police officer. One of the officers happened to have worked in Lakeside and didn’t remember him. When Fred showed them a badge, they let him go, but the officer called the Lakeside chief later and confirmed that Fred was not on the force.

      A warrant was issued for his arrest, and he turned himself in. Within a few minutes, he paid a $2,500 bail and walked away.

      In late 2014, as part of that remaining civil case, both Tonya and Fred were required to sit for lengthy depositions. So was Dr. Dick Miller, the psychologist who treated Ethan and his parents after the crash and infamously used the term “affluenza” in court. He testified that, after spending more than 50 hours with the Couches, he thought the family was “profoundly dysfunctional.” He said it was clear that Fred and Tonya gave Ethan incredible freedoms, with no regard for the law, and that his abuse of alcohol and drugs had escalated for years. Miller testified that instead of the golden rule, Ethan was taught: “We have the gold, we make the rules.” He said he thought Ethan probably has an anxiety disorder he inherited from Fred. “Fred is either an asshole—aggressive, loud, pushy—or he’s frightened.” And he made it clear that both parents were complicit in enabling the boy: “Dad was addicted to mother, and mother is addicted to the kid.”

      ..For his treatment of Ethan and testimony in the criminal case, Miller was paid $15,560. He has said repeatedly that he regrets using the word “affluenza” at the sentencing hearing. More than anything, the word distracts from his point, that this sort of behavior happens all the time. It’s just that the results are rarely so tragic. In the last 15 years, academics have begun studying the effects of affluence on young people. A 2013 Psychology Today cover story titled “The Problem With Rich Kids” explains that children in affluent suburbs are more likely to experience clinically significant levels of depression and higher rates of anxiety and substance abuse. They are also more likely to cheat in school and to steal from their parents and peers. In his deposition, Miller said that the circumstances he was describing—spoiled kids with access to money and drugs—are common, especially in the suburbs. Specifically, he said, Highland Park High School, Allen High School, and Plano Senior High School are full of these kids.

  2. Consequences, schmonsequences. Looks like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. It’s not a new problem, but we’re getting a higher percent of children who are too sheltered from consequences in an rainbow world beyond even the trite children’s books of the Victorian era. Good intentions and helicopter parents are NOT preparing the children to focus on a job, a family, a cause, or even staying out of prison.

  3. I don’t think I am disagreeing, but to put such a dysfunctional kid in prison might make him worse off. Private psychiatric hospitals are not necessarily much better, such as the money pit resort described by zoebrain’s source. This “affluenza” should not be what the kid is diagnosed with, but what society is suffering from handling these kids with such dysfunction. Catch 22 with crappy juvenile treatment systems, predatory quacks, and incompetent parents.

  4. Does nobody in these reports acknowledge that “affluenza” is a joke, even the way the attorney was reportedly using it? It’s a pun that just means the kid is spoiled rotten. I think it may have originated from this World Vision short from 8 YEARS AGO, but it could be even older: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFZz6ICzpjI

    I mean, I assume that everyone knows this, but these media reports are suggesting that a judge was tricked into believing that there was actually some sort of disease called “affluenza.” I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

  5. Anything news organizations can do to “demonize” the justice system seems to be fair game these days, it fits right in with the illogical and unethical BLM anti authority movement.

    If these kinds of idiots keep it up we’ll no longer have a reasonably effective justice system.

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