The Richard Jewell's Infamy

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Sports ・APA ・4 Sources

Time and again, people end up on the wrong end of expectations; despite the determination that one may have to do something beneficial to others, there is no guarantee that things will end up as planned. In reflection, a bomb in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta changed the mood and the entire program of the event after claiming the life of one person and injuring more than 100 people. In an attempt to identify the culprit, Richard Jewell ended up being the chief suspect although he was completely innocent. It is a case that in its entirety represents the excesses to which law enforcement can reach as well as the flaws of news media in pursuit of criminal justice.

Mr. Jewell served as a temporary security guard. As the games were progressing, he became an instant celebrity after playing a starring role in a life-saving engagement at the heat of the Summer Games. The story commenced when he identified an abandoned bag that contained the bomb. In a way to execute his noble duty, Jewell alerted the police as well as helping to move the people around away from the scene. Due to the heroic act that most probably saved many lives despite the one death of a woman, many people praised his smart thinking, which as well made him a center of concentration (Sack, 2013).

Nevertheless, despite acting heroically in a way that prompted national recognition, everything did not go well for Mr. Jewell; the media crucified him for a mistake that he never did. After three days, an article in The Atlanta Journal initiated his infamy process by claiming that there was a probability of having him taken a significant role in the bombing act. As a result, he became the focal point of police attention to the point that there were numerous searches in his apartment under the surveillance of FBI and national reporters (Sack, 2013). Regarding that, the media and similar reports made him the leading suspect in the case; therefore, tarnishing his reputation and affecting his career due to defamation.

In spite of everything that happened, the process was somewhat tragic considering that it was his sense of duty, diligence, and determination to serve the people that made him a suspect. Sadly, despite the pride he had as a professional police officer and law enforcer, Richard Jewell ended up as a poster child of a wrong accusation. In fact, even the subsequent investigations by various organs in the local, state, and federal law also contained numerous bungles in their tactics which complicated the matter as well (Sack, 2007). Nevertheless, justice eventually found its way in October 1996 when the Justice Department cleared him and affirmed that he was not in any way involved in the bombing (Sack, 2013).

Indeed, the entire transformation symbolizes how the media at times fails in its responsibility and end up ruining people's lives. Irrespective of that, it is vital to note that it is possible to hold the media accountable for wrong doings if it ends up defaming a person or giving remarks that may be damaging to someone's career. In fact, if a person is serving in a role where he/she is a public figure, the probability of the media to say or publish outrageously wrong things is often high. In this regard, they often end up being victims of incorrect information which as well can damage their lives.

However, despite the laws differing from place to place, the most amicable way of holding the media responsible for such costs is filing a lawsuit. In fact, many reporters who have taken press law often strive to avoid such instances. By and large, it is necessary to prevent the ones which particularly may claim that they carelessly participated in printing lies within their consent, and such fabrications hurt somebody. In this regard, lawsuits call for punishment of the media personalities if they certify the universal principle in defamation of character in that the falsehood is undoubtedly damaging (Bergstrom, 2017).

Despite Richard Jewell's misfortune, the police were able to identify the Olympic Park Bomber correctly. The police arrested Eric Rudolph in May 2003 and despite putting a defense initially pleaded guilty later. In an inconsequential 11-page statement, Rudolph confessed to having bombed the park and put his blame on two things, that is, death and violence. Indeed, it was a sign of resistance by force, and other documents also note that even religion played a significant part since he was doing it on behalf of the Army of God (Sack, 2013).

Precisely, Rudolph was very categorical in his statement regarding his primary motivations. In a way to resist what was happening in the nation, Rudolph asserted that the need to fight against abortion and homosexual agenda that the government made legitimate was the primary purpose. According to him, abortion was murder, and everyone who took part in it deserved death. Accordingly, it was an immoral practice stemming from the rotten veneration of materialism, and sanctioning it as the government was doing made it lose its legitimacy (Mattingly & Schuster, 2005). Also, the concerted effort to legalize homosexuality in a way to preserve people's integrity was inappropriate hence the need to resist it as well (Sack, 2007).

In summation, it is no doubt that Richard Jewell adverse scenario happened mostly due to the role that the media played after the bombing. Indeed, if the press was accurate in its reporting and carrying out its mandate responsibly, Jewell could not have gone through what took place. It is in this regard that it is important to hold the media responsible for promoting responsible journalism; it is a way to enhance the much-needed cooperation between the law enforcers and the public.


Bergstrom, G. (2017). Defamation, Slander and Libel - The Basics. N.p.: The Balance.

Mattingly, D., & Schuster, H. (2005). Rudolph reveals motives. N.p.: CNN. Retrieved from

Sack, K. (2007). Richard Jewell, 44, Hero of Atlanta Attack, Dies. N.p.: The New York Times.

Sack, K. (2013). A Bombing Suspect, and the Rush to Judgment. N.p.: The New York Times.

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