Thursday, June 25, 2009

Week Four: Day Three: Anyone out there interested in coverage?

Is the public interested in coverage of Ayres trial?

It sure doesn't seem that way to us.

Back when Dr. Ayres was arrested in April, 2007, the case was covered by the New York Times, the LA Times, the Associated Press and many other print publications. There were swarms of TV cameras. The arrest was the headline in the San Francisco Chronicle, which offered daily coverage.

Contrast this to the coverage of the opening arguments on June 23. No buzz, only one TV crew. One reporter from KGO radio. Four reporters from Bay Area papers and one from the San Francisco Daily Journal.

Forget about national interest in this story. The New York Times and USA Today and even the LA Times will not be offering coverage of the trial. Even the San Francisco Chronicle - which shoved the opening arguments story to the back pages of the "B" section -- is not providing daily coverage.

What's to account for the lack of media interest? Well, for one thing, since Ayres was arrested, there has been a mini-epidemic of other child psychiatrists and pediatricians in this country who have been arrested and/or sued for child molestation.

In 2008, another far more famous doctor, pediatrician Mel Levine, made the front page of the New York Times after news broke that at least 50 men have accused him of molesting them when they were children. Levine who has written several best selling books like "A Mind at a Time" and was a frequent guest on Oprah, had almost a cult-like following among parents of children with learning disabilities. There were hundreds of blogs by parents who slavishly hung on Levine's every word. The New York Times has done several stories on Levine's legal troubles - most recently when he had his license suspended because of the molestation allegations and when the board of directors at the foundation that he started forced him out because they were losing business. New York Times Magazine's "Parenting" columnist Lisa Belkin even devoted an entire column to Levine and about the betrayal she felt about the molestation allegations.

Then there are more sensational cases, like those of identical twin pediatricians Dr. Scott and Dr. Mark Blankenburg in Ohio, who were arrested this year on something like 87 counts between them for child molestation. They offered drugs and money to kids in exchange for molesting them.

These are the big cases that are getting coverage. But child abuse by doctors seems to be so routine these days that in many papers around the country, an arrest of a child psychiatrist might get a small column or two.

Doron Weinberg keeps harping on the fact that Ayres was a doctor, or a "medical professional"as he is fond of saying - as if that fact alone makes him exempt from the idea that he could be a child molester. The fact is that if you go back and look at the last fifteen years or so, you will find dozens and dozens and dozens of less well known cases involving child psychiatrists, pediatricians, internists, anesthesiologists who have molested boys.

And sometimes these pedophile doctors have even their shown their true colors in medical school. Take the case of Dr. Joseph DeMasi who was in training in New York State to be a child psychiatrist. DeMasi confessed to his analyst ( psychiatrists are required to go through analysis as part of their training) that he was a pedophile and that he was going to Asia to find himself a nice boy to molest. What did his analyst do? Did he call the cops? Nope. After conferring with several of his medical colleagues, he decided to do nothing. What happened then ? DeMasi graduated from medical school and started to molest young boys sent to him for treatment. A few years later, he was arrested for molesting a ten year old patient of his in a Connecticut hospital.

DeMasi is now in state prison, and another victim of his successfully sued his former analyst for not reporting DeMasi's pedophilia.

We hope we're not right, but we're getting the feeling that there's some apathy among blog readers about providing coverage of this case. We are pondering whether to continue coverage or just hang it up. We would like to get some feedback as to whether there is any interest in continuing.


  1. I think there is interest. But with the small tidbits coming in from the mainstream press and possibly those that usually read are attending the trial, they are getting info first hand.

    I would say keep it up. There are still plenty of people interested in the case.

  2. Only the County Times and Daily Journal are doing daily coverage so far. But they won't be coming every day either.

    This case has turned out to be a bust, media wise.

  3. This was a great entry. I was not aware that there have been other high-profile child psychologists who have been arrested for the same thing.

    I think you need to keep reporting. It's not that this story is NOT newsworthy; far from it. The problem with most newspapers is, the changing landscape on how people get their news, (Internet), as well as the burdened economy. Many papers drastically cutting back their reporting staff.

    There's more newsworthy stories than the papers are able to logistically cover with dedicating a reporter dedicated to sitting inside a courtroom on a daily basis.

  4. It's important that someone with an interest and a familiarity with ANY subject write about an event related to that subject, to document the details, names and dates and locations and what occurred, so that others might hopefully find the information at a future date.

    Given the suppression of information concerning this particular subject, documentation is even more critical.

  5. I think you should continue this coverage. Fight the good fight for all those involved. It's a sad thing that no one should ever have to go through. May Justice be done.

  6. Keep the coverage coming. Its important work.

  7. I say after all this time don't throw the towel in just yet! It does get hard to get posts up everyday, hard to come home eat dinner and take care of home chores and then write a piece trying to keep the content in order and spell check and edit and so on.....

    But with the shut down over at the Daily Journal for comments, I still think you guys are doing a better job of providing the description I am looking for such as how many times Solveig wears her peacock blue outfit........

    Or the fact that Ayres can't look at the victims!

    This is a nice spot for the families and victims to know they have support.

    I hope in a few weeks there will be the result that everybody wants - conviction....not to mention minus $$$$ in his retirement account......

    Of course it will be interesting to see WHO the character witnesses are for the beast, not much character to testify on his behalf!

    The testimony of Dr. Ponton, there is just so much more....

    Please keep it up.......


    Try doing it for five months! I know this avenue well.

    Any time devoted here to covering this trial is appreciated by all the victims who are finally being heard in court and by those who's cases could NOT be heard because of the statutes.

    Public service comes in all shapes and industries. For those who are taking their precious time to attend the trial and report on the proceedings, know that your time investment is so appreciated by those who can't.

  9. Please keep up the good work. The media is changing and bloggers are become a significant part of the media. It is so important to expose these monsters. Thank you for all you do.

    September MOO

  10. SPROKET:
    I hear you loud and clear and I love your blog as well! Each writer who adds an element from their perspective gives us a different glimpse into the proceedings......

    It is all appreciated and your dedication to the matter is wonderful.

    I wish I had discovered Trial and Tribulations long ago.

    How did you do that thing where you were updating the Phil Spector case nearly every 10 minutes or so? Laptop, Blackberry?

    I was on your page for the verdict.......

  11. Thank you very much TPA.

    I was in the courtroom, waiting along with some other trial watchers and a few reporters. I was on my laptop, sitting in the back row. As soon as I heard the BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ, I posted that we had a verdict.

    Be strong everyone. We need to have faith that the ADA will do her job the jury hears the evidence and reaches a just verdict.

    If they reach a conviction, and "IF" Dr. Ayres is as "infirm" as he is making himself to be, he just might end up on the same ward as Spector.

  12. Please keep up the good work you are doing. If the mainstream media cannot be there, bloggers can.

    You are creating a journal to be followed by those who care deeply about the case.

    In addition, you are making people aware of the fact that it is important for victims of molestation know that they are not alone and that something can be done.

    Keep posting, the readers will come.

  13. please keep posting! I don't post often but i do read everyday. I am vary interested in this trial.

  14. Please keep on posting. This is the best and the most intimate coverage we have on this trial. Bloggers deserve so much credit. You are truly appreciated and admired. Evil flourishes when good men do nothing and that can and will not happen this time around. Thank you for the information on the other high profile psychologists. An epidemic? It could be, all the more reason to keep this up and running. Thank you, thank you! The victims and their family and friends thank you also.

  15. I'm closing comments on this thread. No problems with content.. just want to make it easier to manage; feel free to continue discussion on the more recent blog entries.