An extraordinary interest in US executions
- An article on the execution of Donald Beardslee in California
- An article about a last minute temporary stay of execution for Michael Ross in Connecticut
- Another article about another last minute stay for Michael Ross
- An article about the Supreme Court ruling that the death penalty for crimes committed by juveniles iunconstitutionalal
- Kevin Anderson reports that legal rulings in the US are "whittling away" at the death penalty
- An article claiming that prisoners in the US executed by lethal injection may be "aware" as the poison kills them.
- Matthew Wells documents (yet again) the impending execution of Michael Ross.
- Michael Ross is finally executed.
- Matthew Davis claims that support for the death penalty in the US is "on the wane".
- Jury to decide whether Daryl Atkins is mentally fit enough to be executed in Virginia.
- Matthew Davis weighs in on Daryl Atkins case.
- Chris Summers begins BBC's publicity campaign on behalf of death row inmate Tookie Williams.
- Daryl Atkins is ruled to be fit enough to be executed.
October No articles
- US reports a decline in executions in 2004.
- Clemency grant spares Robin Lovitt from becoming "landmark" 1000th prisoner to be executed.
- Snoop Dogg campaigns on behalf of death row inmate Tookie Williams in California.
- Prosecutors urge no death sentence clemency for Tookie Williams in California.
- Stars line up for Tookie Williams.
- Kenneth Boyd in North Carolina becomes 1,000th prisoner to be executed in US since 1976.
- James Westhead reports on "grim milestone" of 1,000th execution, and "waning support".
- Bush reaffirms his support for death penalty in wake of "milestone", despite "waning support".
- Alistair Whitehead reports on Tookie Williams as he awaits nearing execution date.
- Matthew Davis takes up Tookie Williams' hope to avoid execution.
- Alex Kirby weighs in on Tookie Williams' pending execution.
- Chris Summers reminisces about his interview with Tookie Williams on death row.
- California court rejects stay for Tookie Williams.
- Schwarzenegger denies clemency request for Tookie Williams.
- Tookie Williams is executed in California.
The BBC also repeatedly reminded its readers that the US ranked 4th behind leader China in total number of executions for the year 2004, a fact which presents us with an interesting comparison.
A definitive figure on the number of executions in China for the year 2005 could not be found, but Amnesty International estimates that the figure was "at least 3,400". How many articles do you suppose can be found on the BBC website specifically about executions in China? TAE did a google search on the BBC's site for "china execution [month] 2005". The relevant results were:
January - none
February - none
March - none
April - none
May - none
June - none
July - none
August - none
- UN envoy cautions China on human rights (with a specific mention of executions).
- China top court gets power to review death sentences.
November - none
December - none
So, 3,400 executions in China merits only 2 stories on the death penalty in general, and zero stories on any specific execution, while 60 executions in the US merits 7 stories in general and 21 stories about specific executions. Or, put another way, executions in the US, which total only 1.76% the number of executions in China, get 1,400% of the amount of coverage given to executions in China. And the 1,000th execution in the US since 1976 is, for the BBC, a "landmark" and "milestone" requiring 3 stories, while the 1,000th (and 2,000th, and 3,000th) execution in China since January 1 last year passes by entirely unremarked upon.
Just what is it about US executions that so attracts the attention of the BBC?