Skip to comments.As Ferguson Turmoil Continues, Reporters and Police Become Part of the Story
Posted on 08/16/2014 11:11:31 AM PDT by Kaslin
Riots bring out the best and the worst in media. Some risk their safety to get the powerful images and stories that define an event. Responsible professionals take great care to make sure that the story gets told properly and fairly. Some reporters and, more often, pundits, unfortunately use images without providing context and gravitate immediately to easy hot button topics. They push to inflame, rather than inform.
Journalists, against their wishes, have also formed part of the story. Police actions against both citizen reporters and mainstream media reporters have made Ferguson a symbol of what many on the right and left have concluded is wrong with law enforcement.
Residents are frustrated with the overall coverage. St. Louis resident Kelly Morrison used social media to accuse the media of sensationalizing the riot, explaining that they are making it seem like the police are policing a situation - when in reality they are saying that we can't congregate and protest after dark..... we can't videotape/report on their actions She also said that 97 percent of the protesters are peacefully at the police station or the crime scene.
Coverage naturally includes pictures of explosions, tear gas illuminated by light at night, and other dramatic imagery. But not every journalist ensures, as the Daily Callers Rachel Stoltzfoos did, that even a photo essay explains a story fairly. Stoltzfoos fairly balanced photos of clashes with those of peaceful marchers. One video shows police firing rubber bullets into peaceful protesters, another image seems to show police following proper procedure.
Police crackdowns on reporting have taken center stage in coverage in the past two days. St. Louis alderman Antonio French donned the cap of citizen journalist, driving into Ferguson to videotape and report what he saw. Police later arrested French while videotaping from inside his own car.
French told KMOV, I asked why I was being arrested and he said it was because I didnt listen.
Some in Congress, notably Senator Diane Feinstein, in recent years have looked to give special protection to paid journalists. Such legislation would leave spontaneous reporters like Alderman French vulnerable to prosecution because he didnt listen.
Reporters from the Washington Post and Huffington Post also were taken into custody. Reporters customarily use McDonalds as bases of operation because of free wifi and available outlets to recharge equipment. Police closing the restaurant arrested the two reporters for not moving quickly enough. The Washington Posts Wesley Lowery described later how an officer slammed him into a soda fountain.
Police refused to give names and badge numbers of the arresting officers.
A sign that officers may be going beyond standard procedure in some cases came from the Ferguson police chief himself. When told by a Los Angeles Times reporter of the treatment meted to the reporters, he replied Oh God.
The reporters were released soon after.
Punditry has run the gambit from knee jerk reactions to solid commentary. NBCs Andrea Mitchell, when hearing of the arrest of the two reporters, tweeted about reporting while black. This led to criticism from the Washington Examiners Beckett Adams who called it outrageously irresponsible. He noted that one of the reporters taken into custody was white.
In another commentary, Adams said unless state and local leaders step up to address Ferguson residents concerns over the death of Brown, who was reportedly shot multiple times by a police officer, expect the protests and public displays of frustration to continue.
Kevin Williamson of National Review, echoed concerns voiced in Huffington Post, Reason, and other outlets for years about the militarization of law enforcement. Part of the underlying problem, he says, is ridiculously militarized suburban police dressed up like characters from Starship Troopers and pointing rifles at people from atop armored vehicles, i.e. the worst sort of mall ninjas.
Williamson also wrote that free societies do not operate in secret, they do not arrest people who are peacefully trying to document events as they happen, and government is our servant, not our master.
While many in law enforcement would prefer to be more like Andy Griffith than Samuel L. Jackson, militarization is a systemic problem that affects all police, both the majority of the good and the small minority of the bad. It has helped to provoke this clash between the forces of order and the rights of the press and others conducting themselves peaceably.
It has been a long time since Americas last urban riot. Scenes of violence excite emotional responses. Most reporters cover such events wisely; most police do their jobs with discipline and professionalism. Most of those angry with the Ferguson local government have conducted themselves peacefully. Of the thousands protesting, only a handful have tried to turn protests into violent provocation.
But, fair or not, the excesses of some on all sides tarnish the actions of all. Those following this have to remember to not generalize about all what is seen in the most dramatic images. It is the medias job to ensure that the public gets a full understanding of the riot.
And it is the job of the media consumer to follow those outlets and journalists that have shown the most discipline in making sure they get the full story.
Well, if that’s how it went down then it’s a good shoot
The so called witnesses should be charged with obstruction.
Again, if this is accurate.
You get those at the gym or your primary doctor?
When they’re not administered directly by obama at our weekly injections, our whole pd knocks over the local drug dealers and has a big ritual steroid injection party....... when we’re not busy killing the citizenry or selling the drugs we confiscate out of our trunks, of course.
I do appreciate the /s tag by the way......... I believe I just saw an article on Drudge stating 80% of the nation’s LEO’s are out of shape. As one of he 20% busting my ass & struggling to stay in shape as I get older I kind of take umbrage to being accused of being a steroid-user.
It’s the 10%’ers, sovereign immunity and really bad shoots (dogs, innocent people and complete lack of Intel to determine who is in a particular premise or exceeding exigency & warrants, etc) that is making the news.
Further, the JBT tactics for the most minor offenses and busting up property, for good reason and then not taking responsibility.
Even more, LEO’s and their organizations seek to undermine our 2nd amendment and other enumerated rights.
to top it off, there is a general sense of “inventing” reasons for “contacting” citizens.
I have been stopped for an invented crime called surging but, was not ticketed.
I was pulled over 5 minutes after purchasing a vehicle and the officer claimed I had gone left of center twice and the same for drifting into the shoulder.
Didn’t happen and the CHP tried to intimidate me asking if I was calling his ride partner a liar.
I said I was calling him a liar and further they had rolled up on my car, which was at a rather long stop light.
they exited the freeway probably a few minutes after I was stopped at the light.
I told him that I get it. Your looking for drunk drivers but, that is dirty pool and besides, I don’t drink and drive
He then demanded to know where I was coming from and where I was going.
I told him I normally would not answer that question but, in the interest of embarrassing you in court, I left the dealership just a few minutes ago.
if he cared to inquire with the dealership about his bar policy and how many drinks he serves before cutting someone off feel free.
So he goes back to his car, then returns and acts all interested in my shiny new car.
I tell him it’s great except I can’t figure out how to get my “Sirius” radio to work.
He really seemed interested in helping me at this point. /S
He says his partner just bought a car with Sirius and maybe can help.
Told him not necessary and I didn’t want to inconvenience them from doing their job.
he then asked where I was going.
I laughed and told I wasn’t answering any more questions but, he was free to follow me wherever I go but, I have no way of allowing him entry into a gated community.
Of course he was free to crash the gate but, the damage to his vehicle would probably be severe.
Another time I was out with a colleague, in my shiny red Porsche, business suits and all.
we had just pulled out of a clients parking lot when I was pulled over.
Cop rushed the car and upon reaching my window exclaimed he was looking for two men, who had just robbed a store.
my colleague and I started laughing pretty hard and I blurted out, while laughing “Do robbers typically wear $12,000 dollar watches and dress up in business suits?”.
“Uh, I guess you’re not the guys I’m looking for” he painfully replied and then he retreated to his vehicle.
My colleague and I sat there for 10 minutes laughing our ass off and making fun of each other, then laughed all the way back to office.
So the things I’m seeing and experienced give me a cynical view.
Additionally, I was a Sheriff Explorer and went to college studying Police Science.
Ultimately I decided not to become and LEO, as I felt my skills and goals in life eventually changed.
So I’m not anti LEO but, there are things which trouble me and they need to be discussed....sans rioting, which6is essentially taking advantage of another person, while knowingly depriving them of things valuable to them.
Libertine! How dare you disrespect LEOs. Lol
I have many friends who are LEOs and many are prior or current military, and they are all decent people. However, the militarization of police is as bad as the “policification” of our military.
Playing peacekeeper in a war zone gets our troops killed, and playing SOF in civilian environments gets innocents killed. The mission and viewpoint is completely different in each case and no good can come of mixing either.
Maybe that makes me a liberal according to some here, but I think it puts me in good company with those who penned the Constitution that I have repeatedly sworn to uphold.
Don’t the cop haters around here get to you. They really tick me off, and I am not in law enforcement.
What he said...
Thanks, but I’m a she. :)