The Facebook ‘selfie’ that solved a Canadian killing

Brittney Gargol (R) with her killer, Cheyenne Antoine, in a photo taken hours before Gargol died. (Facebook)
Updated 18 January 2018
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The Facebook ‘selfie’ that solved a Canadian killing

DUBAI: A Facebook selfie became instrumental in the investigation into the death of a young woman, and lead to a guilty plea and a seven-year prison sentence for her killer, police have said.
Cheyenne Rose Antoine, 21, pleaded guilty earlier this week to killing Brittney Gargol, 18, after police discovered the weapon used in a picture of the pair posted just hours before the incident, Canadian news site CBC reported.
Gargol’s body was found near a landfill in Saskatoon two years ago – she had been strangled to death — the belt was near her body.
Antoine said the friends had been out drinking on the night of her death and got into an argument. Antoine says she doesn’t remember killing her friend
Police, who used Facebook posts to develop a timeline of Antoine and Gargol’s movements on the night of murder, said that aspects of the story Antoine first gave to them did not add up,
Antoine was initially charged with second-degree murder, but she later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.


What We Are Reading Today: Debating War and Peace by Jonathan Mermin

Updated 15 October 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Debating War and Peace by Jonathan Mermin

  • Mermin shows that if there is no debate over US policy in Washington, there is no debate in the news
  • The author constructs a new framework for thinking about press-government relations

The First Amendment ideal of an independent press allows American journalists to present critical perspectives on government policies and actions; but are the media independent of government in practice? Here Jonathan Mermin demonstrates that when it comes to military intervention, journalists over the past two decades have let the government itself set the terms and boundaries of foreign policy debate in the news.

Analyzing newspaper and television reporting of US intervention in Grenada and Panama, the bombing of Libya, the Gulf War, and US actions in Somalia and Haiti, he shows that if there is no debate over US policy in Washington, there is no debate in the news. 

Journalists often criticize the execution of US policy, but fail to offer critical analysis of the policy itself if actors inside the government have not challenged it. Mermin ultimately offers concrete evidence of outside-Washington perspectives that could have been reported in specific cases, and explains how the press could increase its independence of Washington in reporting foreign policy news. 

The author constructs a new framework for thinking about press-government relations, based on the observation that bipartisan support for US intervention is often best interpreted as a political phenomenon, not as evidence of the wisdom of US policy. Journalists should remember that domestic political factors often influence foreign policy debate. The media, Mermin argues, should not see a Washington consensus as justification for downplaying critical perspectives.