DENVER — John and Patsy Ramsey say they were appalled when the media and Coloradans weren't "all over" Gov. Bill Owens when he suggested earlier this year that they were suspects in the 1996 death of their daughter.
The Ramseys spoke to University of Maryland journalism students Thursday at a private news museum in Washington, D.C.
They said Owens had no right to tell reporters earlier this year "there is very good reason, based on the evidence, for the Ramseys to be under the umbrella of suspicion" in the death of 6-year-old JonBenet.
Owens also called on the Ramseys to "quit hiding behind their attorneys, quit hiding behind their PR firm" after announcing last fall that he wouldn't appoint a special prosecutor in the case.
"Why wasn't the media all over Gov. Owens?" Patsy Ramsey asked. "The media should be saying 'Whoa' to Owens."
Boulder authorities continue to say the Ramseys are under suspicion in the death of their 6-year-old daughter, JonBenet.
Told of the Ramseys ' remarks, Dan Hopkins, a spokesman for Owens, said: "The governor finds it hard to believe that anyone would even care what the Ramseys would have to say anymore."
The Ramseys were flown to Washington to talk about what it's like to be thrust into the middle of a major news story.
In their nearly two-hour appearance, the couple blamed the Denver news media for accepting, uncritically, information from Boulder police indicating they were suspects.
The Ramsey said those stories fed the national news media, which quickly descended on Boulder to report on the unexplained death of their daughter, whose image as a tiny beauty queen flashed around the world.
The Ramseys portrayed themselves as victims of an aggressive and often callous news media.
"I've often thought of the tabloids as a form of organized crime," John Ramsey said.
The journalism students appeared sympathetic to the family, but peppered them with questions about how they approached the media.
Asked if they lacked emotion on TV, John Ramsey said: "We're not soap opera characters. We can't cry on cue."
A Boulder County grand jury last fall ended its investigation into JonBenet's death with no indictments issued.
The Ramseys met with Boulder authorities for the first time in two years in August for a two-day, 10-hour interview. Authorities went to Atlanta, where the Ramseys and their son, Burke, moved after JonBenet's death.