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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  What is 'Too Far' for the Media

 

What is 'Too Far'
for the Media

 

One of the Most Flagrant Attacks on an Officer by a Media Outlet

Police and Law Enforcement News
Monday, March 27, 2006 1:21 a.m.

A weekly rag posing as a serious newspaper moved the bar even lower for the journalism industry last week.

The San Antonio Observer, a Texas based newspaper, doctored an image of a San Antonio police officer which they apparently had on file.

Using computer imaging software, this "newspaper" placed a Ku Klux Klan hood over the head of the officer.  They also added a more menacing touch to the picture by digitally placing a firearm in the hooded officer's hand.

The paper ran the photo on their front page without any mention that the photo was a fake.

They didn't even bother to tile out the badge number (which is, reportedly, clearly visible in the picture) of the officer in the picture.

The officer depicted in the photo is reported to be very upset over his image being used.  He would later tell reporters, "If this shock value image causes injury or death to my family, or any officer here, does that make your paper happy?"

 

The photo was apparently created in response to a string of recent police-involved shootings in San Antonio.

Ida Brown, a spokesperson for the newspaper, described the picture to KENS Eyewitness News as "extremely bold."  She further added, "The cover typifies the relationship between the minority and police department, historically, since the civil rights movement."

When asked about how the use of the photo would affect the officer depicted in the picture, Brown said, "I don't see anything inflammatory to this officer."

Needless to say, street cops and the San Antonio Police Officers Association are not at all happy with this bit of journalism.

Our Take

Ladies and gentlemen, Ida Brown and the others responsible for this disgrace are part of the reason we still have racial tensions in this country.

People like her don't offer solutions.  They can't.  It would put them out of work. 

Instead, they stir the pot at every possible opportunity and revel in the power given to them by those that line up and follow.

They are snake oil salesmen pushing a product that will do no one any good except themselves.  They promote anger and hostility, and their lifeblood is the undercurrent of discontent that runs through too many cities in our nation.

What we will never see offered from people like Ms. Brown are ideas.

As far as this newspaper, what can you really say?

They seem to feel an obligation to spotlight where our ethics (in their opinion) fall short, yet they obviously do not subscribe to their own industry ethics.

The American Society of Newspaper Editors offers a Statement of Principles outlining the accepted ethics of journalism.  You would think that such a list would be posted in the editor's office and at every reporter's desk. 

I guess not. 

By our count, the San Antonio Observer violated at least four of the six accepted principles.

The other disturbing part of this is that people tend to believe what they read and see in the newspaper.  There will be some who just take a quick glance at the picture and believe it is real.  And, there is no disclaimer to tell them otherwise.

I can think of no legitimate reason for a newspaper to put a doctored image on their front cover.

By now, officers with SAPD have, most certainly, already heard the comments from the street accusing them of belonging to the Klan. 

I suppose Ms. Brown and her colleagues have accomplished what they set out to do: make things even worse.

The law enforcement community in San Antonio is and should be outraged.

Hopefully, they will start contacting companies which advertise in this rag and asking them to pull their accounts. 

The one thing they should not do is take this lying down.

As far as Ms. Brown's statement about the officer depicted in the photo, "I don't see anything inflammatory to this officer."

Ms. Brown, I hope his lawyers prove you very, very wrong.

Police and Law Enforcement News
Monday, March 27, 2006 1:21 a.m.

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 What is 'Too Far' for the Media

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