National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – August 29 – Richard Jewell

0 Comments 29 August 2012


Our subject today is Richard Jewell. Jewell is a great example of the old axiom – perception is reality.

For those of you that don’t remember Jewell was hailed as a hero back in 1996 during the olympic games in Atlanta. Jewell spotted a suspicious backpack and quickly reacted to notify law enforcement and helped evacuate the area – thus saving countless lives (although 2 lives were lost) .

Following the event Jewell was hailed as a national hero until some twit journalist (citing unidentified sources) claimed that Jewell had come a primary focus of the investigation into the bombing. In the blink of an eye Jewell went from the toast of the country to a national pariah.

Eventually, the bomber turned out to be anti-government extremist Eric Rudolph, who also planted three other bombs in the Atlanta area and in Birmingham, Ala. Jewell was acquitted of all charges but the stigma persisted.

The ordeal forced many news organizations to audit how their reporters were sourcing and using their information. Jewell brought countless lawsuits against news outlets – most notably CNN, NBC and the New York Post.

The situation became so pronounced Jewell’s name became shorthand for a person accused of wrongdoing in the media based on scanty information.

Man, this is what happens when you try to help people eh?

Former Olympic Park Guard Jewell Dies

The Associated Press
Thursday, August 30, 2007; 2:02 PM
ATLANTA — Security guard Richard Jewell was initially hailed as a hero for spotting a suspicious backpack and moving people out of harm’s way just before a bomb exploded, killing one and injuring 111 others. But within days, he was named as a suspect in the blast. Continue

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