COMMENTS: Crime Blotter

NBC and ABC turned to a killing in the Detroit suburbs, with Kevin Tibbles and Alex Perez respectively. Both played 911 EMS audio of a pre-dawn incident in which a homeowner with a shotgun pumped a fatal blast into the face of a 19-year-old African-American woman who was on his porch. Renisha McBride was apparently drunk, recovering from a car crash. Theodore Wafer, a 54-year-old white man, will be prosecuted for murder. NBC's Tibbles consulted Lisa Bloom, his network's in-house legal eagle, for a brief on self-defense laws. Bloom happened to be a frequent commentator for NBC in the murder of Trayvon Martin, a case that Tibbles cited in his coverage, although Perez did not.

CBS' crime story came from Bill Whitaker in Los Angeles. It is a whodunit. In February of 2010, the McStay family -- father Joseph, mother Summer, toddlers Gianni and Joseph -- went missing from their suburban San Diego home. The search is now over. Their grave has been found in the San Bernardino Desert.

Away from the true-crime beat, CBS anchor Scott Pelley also gave airtime to the public policy of violent crime prevention. His network has covered the aftermath of Newtown Conn grade school shooting most heavily all year, with Pelley himself taking the lead. Again he sat down with bereaved activists Nicole Hockley and Bill Sherlach, whose lobbying group is called Sandy Hook Promise, to discuss the diminishing prospects for federal gun control legislation and the wisdom of preventive screening for mental illness in children.


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