Monday, March 02, 2009

Off the beat

David Simon, the guy who created The Wire, who used to be a cop reporter for the Baltimore Sun, saw some interesting police misconduct cases in Baltimore go largely unreported recently, and decided he had to pursue them. His piece was in the Sunday Outlook section of the Post.

It's not so much about these specific cases as about what has happened to policing with the decline of the newspaper: there is hardly a watchdog, and now more police departments are becoming accustomed to that, and instituting policies such as not releasing the names of officers in police shootings of civilians. Simon writes:
There is a lot of talk nowadays about what will replace the dinosaur that is the daily newspaper. So-called citizen journalists and bloggers and media pundits have lined up to tell us that newspapers are dying but that the news business will endure, that this moment is less tragic than it is transformational.

Well, sorry, but I didn't trip over any blogger trying to find out McKissick's identity and performance history. Nor were any citizen journalists at the City Council hearing in January when police officials inflated the nature and severity of the threats against officers. And there wasn't anyone working sources in the police department to counterbalance all of the spin or omission.


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