Cafferty On BTK Cable : “We Ought To Be Ashamed Of Ourselves”

By Brian 

Jack Cafferty lashed out at his employer on Thursday’s Situation Room. “We ought to be ashamed of ourselves” for broadcasting Dennis Rader‘s statements in court, Cafferty told Wolf Blitzer. “Publicity is this monster’s gasoline.” (“I seem to crave the attention of the media,” Rader said in court today.)

“It’s nonsense. It doesn’t belong on television,” Cafferty continued. “Nobody needs to watch this stuff. All it does is inspire other nut cases out there that may be they can get themselves famous by doing this kind of — it’s terrible.”

At the end of the show, Cafferty read several e-mails from viewers. Kai in Greenwich, Connecticut called the coverage “moronic and sickening,” and said “the media’s obsessively lurid sensationalism continues to elevate serial killers to celebrity status.” But Ed in Virginia said “I think Mr. Cafferty should be fired for badmouthing CNN for covering the sentencing. He’s an employee of CNN. Be quiet and do your job.”

After the jump, read Cafferty’s complete statement…

From the transcript:

JACK CAFFERTY, HOST, “IN THE MONEY”: How you doing? It’s like the world’s gone mad, Wolf. I mean, what a charade. The BTK killer actually shed a tear or two during this sentencing hearing, this circus today. That was on the outside. He had to be laughing hysterically on the inside. We, the news media and the criminal justice system played right into his hands: A two-day sentencing hearing that was televised live around the world after he’d already confessed.

We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Publicity is this monster’s gasoline. It’s what kept him going during the years he was playing cat and mouse with the cops and murdering innocent people. He loved being the BTK killer. He loved reading about himself in the newspapers, watching the television stories on the local news in Kansas, on the nights before he got caught.

Doesn’t anybody get this? This thing should have been sentenced in a closed courtroom in 30 seconds and thrown into a hole to rot. I’m a little embarrassed to be a part of the media on a day like this. The question is: How should Dennis Rader have to spend his days? If I was a betting man, and I’ve been known to be one on occasion, my guess is he’d better get busy writing that book, because I’ll bet you in six months he’s no longer with us. I’ll be the lads over there at El Dorado take good care of him and it won’t take them long.

BLITZER: Would you be surprised, once we take a look and see how many viewers were watching, not only CNN, but the other cable networks, Court TV, all the networks that were taking this live, would you be surprised, Jack, tomorrow, if you discover that, you know what, a lot more people were watching this that would have been watching CNN and the other news networks had we been doing just the normal course of the day’s news?

CAFFERTY: That’s got nothing to do with anything, Wolf, as far as I’m concerned. This is a ghoulish exercise on the part of the news media and if ratings are the reason, then I’ll say it again, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. There was no reason to give this guy a platform to talk to everybody in the country about thanking the cops and all this garbage that he spewed.

I watched it for two hours. It’s nonsense. It doesn’t belong on television. Nobody needs to watch this stuff. All it does is inspire other nut cases out there that may be they can get themselves famous by doing this kind of — it’s terrible and I don’t care how many people were watching.

BLITZER: Now, I’m not suggesting it was because of the ratings. I’m suggesting there’s a lot of interest around the country in this case and that viewers are interested. And remember, we didn’t only put Dennis Rader on the air and air what he had to say. The victims’ families, we allowed all of them to explain their side of the story — heart-wrenching stories that we all heard, as well. Should we have not put them on the air either?

CAFFERTY: I don’t think any of it should have been put on the air. The guy confessed to the murders. Sentence him in a close courtroom and lock him in jail. Why give him a platform. I’ll say it again: We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. I just think it was absolutely the wrong decision to put this person on live TV and allow him to once again abuse the public and enjoy the spotlight. That’s what these clowns get off on. This is — that’s their deal. That’s why he invented this BTK nonsense. That’s why he was, you know, playing games with the cops, so he could read about himself in the paper. We’re playing right into his hands. Does anybody get that?

BLITZER: All right. Well, I think you make an excellent point and we’ll hear what the viewers have to say. You’ll be getting their e-mail in the course of the next several minutes. And we’re anxious to hear what they have to say, as well. I suspect, Jack, you have a lot of people who are going to agree with you.

CAFFERTY: There probably might be one or two, Wolf.

BLITZER: I’m sure there’s a lot of people. Jack Cafferty, the “Cafferty File.”