Judge Dislikes T-Shirt, Jails Woman—and Media Play Coy

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A woman observing a trial was arrested and jailed for 48 hours because she wore a t-shirt with a political slogan.

Are you curious about the political slogan? Can this be legal? Would you agree that the specific slogan would be a crucial part of the news reporting this story? Now try this actual event, reported in the Chicago Tribune:

“Jennifer LaPenta, 20, was jailed this week by Lake County Associate Judge Helen Rozenberg who held her in contempt for wearing a T-shirt in her courtroom emblazoned with the words: “I have the (slang for female body part) so I make the rules.” LaPenta was sitting in the gallery waiting for a friend’s case when the judge called her forward.

This is a horrible incident—a judge jailing someone not even on trial because she didn’t like the woman’s T-shirt. But the Tribune is so busy protecting readers’ eyeballs from being burned by the “slang for female body part” that we don’t get to evaluate the judge’s actions for ourselves. We don’t get to be outraged that whatever-the-word-was landed someone in jail.

On the progressive side, the Huffington Post was no better—in fact, they were worse. Huffington ran the headline and lead, then simply directed readers to the Lake County News Sun, which of course couldn’t possibly mention the word that made the woman a criminal. Worse, Huffington ran a photo of the woman wearing her T-shirt—with the word blacked out.

In recent years adults have been insulted by media inventions like “the N word” and “the F bomb.” These are the same media that are willing to not show 4,000 American corpses being shipped back from Iraq. The media don’t trust us. They’re busy protecting us from the truth instead of reporting it.

The words on the T-shirt are a crucial detail. Without them, the LaPenta story is reduced to gossip, to a reality show. Instead of being angered, we chuckle.

So here’s what the T-shirt said across her chest:

“I have the pussy, so I make the rules.”

Stupid? Sure.

Offensive? Contemptible?

Not as much as a judge jailing her for it. And not as much as the national media refusing to let us know exactly what happened.

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