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  • Why cops hate the media so much

    I am on call with no action tonight so I decided to ask this question before I retire for the holliday weekend. I find this site very informative. I don't mean to start a war with this question. Just a perspective.

    Why do most cops hate the media? Seriously.

    I have worked around cops for many years and I never had any major problems. Most were respectful of me as I have a job to do. But on this board it seems most LEO's hate the media.

    I hope all a great Memorial Day weekend and everyone have fun and be safe!

  • #2
    I see it as partly a three headed problem. First is the consistantancy of the media to get nearly everything given them at least partly wrong. It is not uncommon to spoon feed the information, only to have it be twisted to the point where the truth is nearly impossible to find. It is not entirely the media's fault, but they make no effort to correct this on most occasions. Either they have the actual story wrong or they get names wrong, etc., which leads to our second problem; the lack of journalistic professionalism.

    What do I mean? I once supervised a fire scene where two people in a rental house died. We were unsure who any of these people were, yet the local media went ahead and named them before we knew who they were or could locate relatives. This, after our district commander specifically asked them not to release any names, and refused to give the names. The TV people went and got the names of the renters, and released them. As it turned out, they got one right and one wrong and never corrected the mistake the next night or thereafter.

    Lastly, it has been my experience that most journalists, TV or paper, will only tell a story if it will sell. They will be the first to report on an officer who may or may not have injured a suspect in a fight, and spin the story to sound as if the officer was abusive. However, if a home burns down on Christmas eve and an officer goes to all the churches in his district to collect toys for the kids all he gets is a blurb in the bottom of the next to last page.

    We simply do not trust the media but they EXPECT us to open, honest, and forthright with every little detail of anything we handle. Yet, they do not live by those same rules. In general, of course.
    Fighting the good fight, one beer at a time.

    "Defense aint for no nice people." Neamiah Warrick, first year starting Saftey, Michigan State University 2006

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    • #3
      I don't have any problems with the media. When interviewed on the air they have got the story right. For the most part we are fortunate in that we have not had any problems with them. Atleast I haven't.

      I have read of a few calls that I have handled in the newspaper that have gotten the story incorrect but there was no maliciousness directed towards me. They just got some of the facts wrong.
      Prov 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

      Comment


      • #4
        You're a Cameraman Mark, not a reporter..there's a Difference..while you have some influence in HOW you film, it's the reporters and producers who "Artistically" cut, and edit things to influence the story that we have a problem with. BTDT.. Watched the Newsies coverage of an Incident where I was there for the whole thing, and SAW the whole thing being filmed, yet once it hit the wire, the slant was 180 Degrees from the actual course of events. I've had reporters take statements, and Literally change what i said, and when i complained, i was told.. "Well, we had to edit it a little to make it fit the space we had available". Fuuuuuu...umm i mean Screw that..I dont Talk to Newsies, and if im being filmed (and it's possible given the situation), All they'll ever get is my back. Once Burned Twice Shy....

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        • #5
          I have to be careful here, since I have become "the media."

          Many media outlets seem to have an agenda, although few will admit it. If you want to hear reporting from a conservative perspective, listen to Fox. If you want the liberal point of view, listen to National Public Radio. The LA Times and most of their TV stations seem to hate the LAPD.

          As an example, the news coverage of the May Day riot in Los Angeles was condemnatory of LAPD. There was lots of video available, but only the most sensational was aired. I have not seen most of it, but I have read (see - I form my opinions from media coverage, too) that there is video of a TV news reporter arguing with a cop who is telling her to move. Somewhere in this exchange, she gets pushed/thrown/shoved/whatever to the ground. She gets up, picks up a heavy TV camera, and walks away. Later on, she appears on camera at her station, claiming that the officer broke her arm, and is wearing a sling on the same arm she used to pick up the camera.

          The moral here is that a little bit of information is a dangerous thing, and the news media largely controls the flow of information. By seeking only information that suits their agenda, or ignoring other information that makes their report less sensational than it might otherwise, the story is "spun" to make it look like something it's not.

          This can have some good outcomes, too. During World War II, the news media agreed not to photograph President Roosevelt in his wheelchair or supported by crutches. There was no TV, and the only time anyone would see him in motion was in newsreels, which were brief and easily edited. The idea was that Americans might lose confidence in the President if they knew he was crippled. Most Americans didn't know Roosevelt had polio until after he passed and Truman succeeded him. Now, the president getting a pretzel stuck in his throat while watching TV is national news.

          There are so many media channels - TV, radio, print (newspapers and magazines), the internet- that the competition for eyes and ears is more fierce than ever. The whole operation is directed towards getting your attention long enough to see the ad for Absolut vodka or hear the commercial for HeadOn pain remedy. That's what pays the bills. It works that way here at O.com. All those ad banners that surround your screen are what keeps the lights on, and there are a lot more people dedicated to selling and placing those ads than there are to writing the stuff that goes in the middle. I do my best to see that we have quality content and make it worth your while to come here. But not long after the day that those page view and unique visitor numbers fall below the level that is seen as profitable, I'll be unemployed.

          The dedicated reporter who doggedly pursues the truth at any cost is rare, and usually unemployed. You write the story you're told to write, or you find someplace else to write it.

          Cops have to get all of the facts when they perform an investigation. There's an obligation to the justice process to gather details that are both inculpatory and exculpatory, so that the prosecutors and courts can proceed appropriately. There's no profit motive. Most cases and most cops work like this, but that's not an especially sexy story. The sexy story comes when a cop does something he's not supposed to do, or fails to do something he is supposed to do. The reader sees this, but doesn't see the hundreds of other things the cop did right. If he is preordained to use this to form or reinforce an opinion that the cops are all crooked or worthless, he will do so.

          We have all resented authority figures at some time in our lives. Even if it was only your third grade teacher telling you to shut up and do your math problems, we resent being regulated. Some people carry that monkey around their whole lives. When they get the chance to point to an authority figure who has messed up (or at least it looks like he's messed up), that's big fun. The press knows this, and the most accessible authority figures in our society are cops. This is why I am such a torch carrier (my own agenda, reflected by the writing that I do) for cops to be exemplary citizens and not take advantage of any special consideration they might get for messing up. When one guy gets painted as a goon or an idiot, the paint gets splashed on everyone.
          Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

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          • #6
            the problem, at least here in houston, is that there is a HUGRE bias AGAIST LE and it feeds the black, hispanic and poor community their breakfast.

            We have on station that goes after the media and with a huge bias agaist them. I have stopped watching them for one reason, they dig the cops up duing ratings KNOWNG that someone has done something. and I just hate that thy expect the LE to be there for them and they disrespect them like they do,

            IF a reporter has to be a cop for 6 to 8 weeks, I would bet that they would report differantly, and have a better angle to cover the stoy with.

            In houston, when something oes down, on the news-
            poor, uneducated and the most bottomed out people are the ones making a statement. (usally agasit the cops0)
            ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
            Oscar Wilde

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by iMarkVideo View Post
              I am on call with no action tonight so I decided to ask this question before I retire for the holliday weekend. I find this site very informative. I don't mean to start a war with this question. Just a perspective.

              Why do most cops hate the media? Seriously.

              I have worked around cops for many years and I never had any major problems. Most were respectful of me as I have a job to do. But on this board it seems most LEO's hate the media.

              I hope all a great Memorial Day weekend and everyone have fun and be safe!
              Mainly because of the mantra in the media that it is better to be the first one to put a story out with half of the facts than to be the second one to put the story out with all of the facts. The whole "Scoop mentality" is what gives you guys so little credibility with us.

              Imagine if police work was like that. Where the only police officer who got paid, or got credit for working on a case, was the first one to get a report in, whether it was accurate or not?

              I don't know if you guys can ever change that, or if anyone in your industry is even trying to, or even concerned about it. Just a couple of reports by a police officer, that were as full of errors as the average news report is, would pretty much be the end of our careers.

              Comment


              • #8
                The worst reporting I ever saw took place in Los Angeles about 25 years ago. A LAPD officer was shot and the suspect was shot by another officer with a shotgun. The suspect was transported to the hospital where he died. The TV reporter reported that the officers in the ambulance, being so upset that there fellow officer was shot, shot the suspect in the ambulance because he had numerous bullet wounds when he arrived at the hospital when he had only been shot once in the field.
                LAPD Chief Gates went ballistic in his news conference telling the public that the multiple wounds were from the single shotgun blast to the chest, and not his officers shooting the suspect in the chest while he was stapped to a gurney in the back of the ambulance.

                The end result, the TV reporter was fired immediately and to the best of my knowledge he never got another job as a TV reporter.
                Retired LASD

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Retired96 View Post
                  The worst reporting I ever saw took place in Los Angeles about 25 years ago. A LAPD officer was shot and the suspect was shot by another officer with a shotgun. The suspect was transported to the hospital where he died. The TV reporter reported that the officers in the ambulance, being so upset that there fellow officer was shot, shot the suspect in the ambulance because he had numerous bullet wounds when he arrived at the hospital when he had only been shot once in the field.
                  LAPD Chief Gates went ballistic in his news conference telling the public that the multiple wounds were from the single shotgun blast to the chest, and not his officers shooting the suspect in the chest while he was stapped to a gurney in the back of the ambulance.

                  The end result, the TV reporter was fired immediately and to the best of my knowledge he never got another job as a TV reporter.




                  +1 for the firing, +100 for never working again.

                  Group29 said it best......they want to be the first with the story, just not with the WHOLE story. Facts are everything and its just unprofessional and unethical to do astory with out it. LAwsuits happen that way. (maybe if there were more lawsuits over lack of facts, there would be less on air breaking news and blaming people upfront.
                  ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
                  Oscar Wilde

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Another sad case also came out of L.A. (no surprise here), in which a TV reporter was seen arguing with a group of officers. At one point, the reporter hit one of the officers, and was immediately restrained and arrested. Of course, when his station showed the video, they conveniently left out the part where he hit the officers, and just showed him being arrested. Other stations who had cameras present showed the whole incident.
                    Biased, anti-police reporting? Welcome to L.A.
                    Three Stripes beats Four Aces.
                    Retirement: You've Won the War when you're Paid to Stay at Home.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Why cops hate the media so much

                      Here in Montgomery, the local media is pretty good. At least the TV stations. It would be difficult to truthfully say they have an anti-law enforcement bias. What they do seem to do routinely though, is screw up a rather simple story. I often have to wonder what ever happened to : Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. The ability of TV reporters to "add-lib" seems to be a lost art. If, for some reason the tele-prompter goes down, the reporter is totally lost. It's almost embarrassing to see them ,"hem, haw, uh, duh, etc." There is a seemingly, and I feel in some cases a genuine anti-law enforcement bias in certain aspects of both the print and TV media. Los Angeles is a good example of what I percieve as a genuine anti-law enforcement bias. Okay, these are my personal perceptions, and I'm certain many of my colleagues will disagree, or have other views. Well, that's what these forums are all about.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by iMarkVideo View Post
                        I am on call with no action tonight so I decided to ask this question before I retire for the holliday weekend. I find this site very informative. I don't mean to start a war with this question. Just a perspective.

                        Why do most cops hate the media? Seriously.

                        I have worked around cops for many years and I never had any major problems. Most were respectful of me as I have a job to do. But on this board it seems most LEO's hate the media.

                        I hope all a great Memorial Day weekend and everyone have fun and be safe!
                        I do not "hate" the media. As a matter of fact, when I'm being interviewed, the first thing that I say is "Please don't make me look bad". They are usually there to get a story about an event that they wish to broadcast on the evening news. If that's the case and I have first hand knowledge, then I usually try to help them out. However, if it is an ongoing investigation, I would never issue any type of statement. This is where officers get into trouble when they conduct a preliminary investigation, issue a statement, then after its aired later on, the officer has to retract his story and open himself up to a "But you said...". It's on a case by case basis. But I'm careful to only disclose what I know for sure. The best reporter in the world cannot extract information from me if I'm not sure.

                        A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than yesterday. Jonathan Swift 1667-1745

                        It's only a conspiracy when your party is not in power.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Don't get me started on the media here.

                          Tim, first, you're a highly respected retired police officer that has conducted actual investigations and made arrests, and journalist/educator second. You hardly fit the civilian model of media type.

                          I personally believe that there should be citizen advisory committees and independent review boards, that issue fines and discipline members of the media that get caught intentionally misleading the public.

                          The media today is longer about reporting the news. The media today is all about reporting the news with whatever editorial spin that particular channel, radio, website, or paper believes in. And there in lies the problem, editorials should be saved just editorial section, and not be part of every story.

                          As it stands today, the "media" is arguably even more powerful than our governments in the construction of our social make up and there needs to be a level of accountability (not to be confused with censorship).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here's an example from NYC.....many LE agencies provide parking permits for their officers. Thaey are used for parking on duty at crime scenes, stationhouses and courthouses. The local press love to do so called "exposes" of officers allegedly abusing their parking permits. But they howl when they get ticketed for doing the sama thing with their press trucks. We had a long running battle with them to keep the sidewalks open around our courthouses. I've sat through any number of press attendant trials "covered" by famous NYC columnists quite often they write their their "first person" reports based on someonelse's notes. It is this blatant dishonesty that sours LEOs on the press.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by iMarkVideo View Post
                              I am on call with no action tonight so I decided to ask this question before I retire for the holliday weekend. I find this site very informative. I don't mean to start a war with this question. Just a perspective.

                              Why do most cops hate the media? Seriously.

                              I have worked around cops for many years and I never had any major problems. Most were respectful of me as I have a job to do. But on this board it seems most LEO's hate the media.

                              I hope all a great Memorial Day weekend and everyone have fun and be safe!
                              1) the "truth" is rarely protrayed.News events are edited for shock and entertainment value rather than information( ho-hum,too boring).

                              2) Often biased as to what occurs-if the reporter or station pushes liberal opinions they Stick to their liberal biases;ditto conservative opinions

                              3) working as a CSI unit officer, the camera can be "manipulated" to express a feeling or opinion also.As in the case of some police action and home videos,people often don't see an incident beginning and may only collect( intentionally or accidentally) part of the "whole story",which can then slant the "truth" about the whole incdent-same people are NOT under obligation to report or display the whole "truth"

                              4) Newsreporters and their camera/video crews rarely apologize for incorrect stories broadcasted,even if the stories are border line or FULLY slanderous or libel-they write it off as just an "opinion" and their right under 1st amendment,even if their reporting causes personal damage or emotional damage to a subject or group.Often the media knows this with public officials,especially police officers, and are willing to "bend" the truth("never let the TRUTH get in the way of a good story"),or adlib,or show partiality,to the detriment of same public officials reputations..........
                              Last edited by DOAcop38; 05-28-2007, 06:10 AM.
                              "we're americans ! We don't quit because we're wrong, we just keep doing it wrong UNTIL it turns out Right"...

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