Ainsley Earhardt

Yes, there's a religion 'ghost' haunting news coverage of Kate Steinle's family and faith

Yes, there's a religion 'ghost' haunting news coverage of Kate Steinle's family and faith

The tragic shooting death of Kathryn "Kate" Steinle on a San Francisco pier some 30 months ago stunned the nation and help inspire some of the rhetoric in Donald Trump's 2016 White House campaign. At the end of November, a San Francisco jury failed to convict Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who was in the United States illegally, of either murder or manslaughter, setting off another firestorm.

That's the public story. But what of the personal story, the family story? Steinle's family has been vocal about their loss in 2015 and, to an extent, the verdict in Zarate's trial. But, both in 2015 and now, there's what we at GetReligion call a "ghost" -- a missing religion angle -- hovering around the edges of coverage discussing how the family is making sense of the senseless.

The journalism issue: For a profession so keen on detail, I've found multiple instances of reporters not asking the kind of "who, what, when, where, why" questions normally answered in such reporting. It's downright puzzling.

Most recently, the San Francisco Chronicle, via editorial page editor John Diaz, gave us some insights. Even though the piece appeared on the opinion pages, it reads very much like a news feature, since no "opinion" from Diaz or the paper is expressed there.

So here is my question: Where is the hard-news coverage of this angle of the story in the mainstream press, especially in papers out West?

The Chronicle headline stated: "Exclusive: Kate Steinle’s family talks about the anguish and frustration." The passage relevant to this discussion appears more than 20 paragraphs into the story:

Now and then an acquaintance would angrily suggest that Kate’s killer should be executed and ask: “What do you think, Jim?”

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