Brent Bozell

The first rule of coroner public relations ought to be "never seem to enjoy sharing the specifics on someone's death." That should be followed by "and don't give specifics if you don't have the full story."

An investigation on a death such as this takes time. The toxicology report itself takes weeks. Given Williams' documented struggle with substance abuse, that is a necessary component in the full report. As well, there is a certain distance required between the initial news and its analysis when the news is this tragic. Imagine the Dallas police chief divulging to the public everything he knew about Kennedy's head blown off 24 hours after the assassination.

So it was shocking to hear the gory details -- especially when the story is incomplete. Not just that he hanged himself but how he did it. How exactly he was seated-but-not-really-seated. How the body was in a state of rigor mortis, which, of course, it was, and did he need to repeat himself, too. How he had cut his wrists, but how badly, he wouldn't say. How there was a knife nearby with "red" stains, which -- and this was infuriating -- is being tested to see if it's Williams' blood, as if it could somehow be anything else.

Was the star's privacy compromised? The coroner's office was legally obligated to release a report under the California Public Records Act, and the media's massive interest probably made a press conference unavoidable. But what was divulged crossed a line, and the public saw it. "The amount of info being given out about Robin Williams' death is shocking," wrote one woman on Twitter. Another added: "Why does the world need to know this??"


Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
 
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