The Scott Sisters Are Free

The Scott sisters (Gladys and Jamie) were serving doublelife sentences in a Mississippi state prison over the supposed role they played in an armed robbery that amounted to $11. At the end of 2010 their sentences were suspended by Governor Haley Barbour, provided that Jamie receive a kidney donation from her sister.

The sisters’ ordeal, as columnist Richard Prince wrote back in November,came tonationalattention thanks largely to a November 2008 piece in the Black Commentator by Nancy Lockhart, which then spread throughout black-oriented blogs andtalk radio, as well as the alternative media (Prince cites a piece by James Ridgewayof Mother Jones).

The story then began to get national attention, mostly thanks to African-American columnists like Bob Herbert and Leonard Pitts, and NPR‘s Michel Martin of Tell Me More. Prince joined us onCounterSpin (12/3/10) to tell the story behind this story.

Bob Herbert was back on the story on December 31, writing a strong column that ended: “The Scott sisters may go free, but they will never receive justice.”That they’re free at all is a testament to activism and the role of the independent media. And it should serve as a reminder that diversity inside the mainstream media certainly mattered; as Janine Jackson put it during that CounterSpin interview with Prince:

But it seems reasonable to consider whether this case would have even the so-called “big” media presence that it’s gained at this point, if it weren’t for Bob Herbert at the New York Times, who’s written about it;Leonard Pitts, syndicated columnist; Michel Martin at NPR. It has been not entirely, but it’s had a lot to do with highly placed black journalists that the story has kind of bubbled up.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.