Once Again, Murder Victim David Harris Is Mistreated by the Media

“What has he done to wear so many scars? Has he changed the course of rivers? Has he polluted the moon and stars?”–Bob Dylan

Houston, TX–Background: I’ve covered the Clara Harris “Murder by Mercedes” case extensively, both in the Houston Chronicle, on the radio, and in this blog. As I’ve previously noted, Clara Harris repeatedly ran over David Harris as David’s daughter sat in the front seat, begging Clara not to kill her father.

In my co-authored column Suppose roles had been reversed in Harris case–Murdered dad deserves sympathy being shown Clara (Houston Chronicle, 1/27/07), I explained:

Harris, her attorneys and her supporters have been largely successful in concealing the true nature of Clara’s crime. Whereas Clara has successfully portrayed herself as the innocent victim of a philandering husband, in reality David Harris was killed while trying to exit a bad and possibly abusive marriage. Clara’s defenders also ignore the fact that considerable evidence was presented that Clara–who played the crying, betrayed wife–was also having an affair at the end of their marriage.

“While many see the Clara Harris case as one of love and betrayal, it is in fact a garden-variety domestic homicide. Clara Harris is no better than high-profile wife-killer Scott Peterson. Perhaps Clara is even worse — at least Peterson spared us the crocodile tears.”

To learn more about the case, see my columns In Defense of David Harris (, 3/4/03) and Convicted Murderess Can Get Custody but Decent Fathers Can’t (Houston Chronicle, 9/19/03), or click here.

I’ve previously noted the way the media has disparaged David Harris despite the fact that he was by all accounts a good father and a decent man. At the time of the civil trial in January 2007, I wrote:

“Of the 354 news stories covering the wrongful death trial that are indexed on Google News, 233 refer to David Harris as Clara Harris” ‘cheating husband.’ Not one mentions the phrase ‘domestic violence.'”

Were the genders reversed, would we see headlines saying “Man Kills Cheating Wife”? I doubt it.

Now that Harris is back in the news (she’s suing her criminal defense attorney–to learn more, see my blog post ‘Murder by Mercedes’ Killer Clara Harris Whining Again), we once again see the bias on domestic violence. As evidenced by the screen shot above, most news outlets’ headlines are again disparaging and dehumanizing David Harris by referring to him simply as “Cheating Spouse.”

Interested readers might contact these news outlets and ask them to change “Cheating Spouse” to read “Husband.”

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