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June 16, 2004
Joel Steinberg: From Prison To TV

Joel Steinberg started a nationwide focus on child abuse when he beat his 6-year-old live-in ward, Lisa, to death for staring at him. His wife Hedda claimed at the time to have been chronically abused herself, and pictures backed up her story. Outraged New Yorkers gladly saw Steinberg off to prison for 8 to 25 years and blocked efforts for early parole. Steinberg remains a nationwide symbol of unchecked child abusers and the inevitable result of failing to intervene on behalf of children in those circumstances.

Now, since Steinberg has served two-thirds of his maximum sentence, New York must release him rather than parole him, and the only condition of his release is that he has to have a place to live. No word on whether he's managed to find new digs, but New Yorkers may be pleased to know he's found gainful employment (also at this link):

It has been nearly 17 years since young Lisa Steinberg, illegally adopted by Joel Steinberg and his live-in girlfriend, Hedda Nussbaum, died of brain injuries from the beating.

Now, Steinberg is about to be released from prison, even though he was denied parole five times - most recently in January. And he has a job lined up on a local cable TV show called New York Confidential. ...

After he's released, Steinberg will earn $250 a week as an intern for New York Confidential, a tabloid-style cable show that has the infamous report on the scandalous. "We're interested in a lot of different people, scandalous people ... who can do stories and have a totally different view on everything," show spokesman James Edstrom says. "There's no guarantee that he will work out. He'll start as an intern, and if he can handle it, he may end up being a reporter along with other people."

Joel Steinberg was an attorney before his conviction, not a reporter or a stringer. Let's leave aside for the moment the thousands of J-school graduates that would love a chance to intern for a television show in New York; Steinberg has no qualifications for journalism, not even prison studies, where he worked as a paralegal. NY Confidential hired Steinberg strictly for his notoriety, and if you think he'll stay behind the camera, you're fooling yourself. The producers will put him on screen as often as possible in order to generate controversy and ratings.

I have no problem with someone giving Steinberg a job, because after all he will need to eat now that he's served his time. However, the NY Confidential producers hired him specifically because he beat a little girl to death and got famous for it. They're putting their food on the table by trading in the blood of a six-year-old girl. I hope they enjoy the taste.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 16, 2004 6:29 AM

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