Let’s cut to the Chase here in Northwest Indiana- we have issues. Mainly a particular free press which posts innuendos instead of information. At a time when property, schools, and accounts are shifted about daily there doesn’t seem to be enough space to cover it all. We value those journalists who craft articles and series in a manner that opens discussion .
Why then does Lee Enterprises ,Chris White and the editorial board behind the NWI Times surrounds quality journalism with a seemingly unending vault of bias and stigma? Instead of the 5 W’s the usual procedure seems to be pick someone of a certain persuasion, add a mugshot, throw in unnamed sources and their permanent record from grade school to the present, and post it.
Headlines since Saturday have centered on the 2 off duty police officers who were shot at a bar. For over two days a timeline of events- officer identified himself and was shot- was repeated with unnamed sources describing officers conditions, and that two men were being detained. Meantime facts and official statements were printed in citizen journalism, the NWI Gazette, and the Post, etc. The Editors made a different decision for their paper and since Saturday plastered the photo and name of one of 2 men detained – knowing full well he was not charged, not arrested. Even when released his name and photo are there. Within the last hour an arrest from a mall incident 6 years ago is included.
The same update offhandedly mentions up to five officers were involved, various police agencies. How many discharged weapons? How many involved? How many still on the streets? That is beyond the Times articl
And then there is Marc Chase. STOP SHOULD-ING ON THE PEOPLE OF NWI
Editorial endorsements are meant to influence using more than a smidgen of sense. The majority of the endorsements this year were based in if the candidate talked to Councilman Jamal Washington- if they supported him, page, if they were friends,, or if they followed the Real Deal in Da Region. What had happened was Councilman Washington and CouncilWoman Sparks -Wade started live streaming meetings public meetings, reporting on events as they happened.
On Dec. 2016 Councilman Jamal Washington pled guilty to battery resulting in bodily injury and invasion of privacy – 2 Class A misdemeanors. Charging documents are not fact, plea bargains are routine before a trial.Washington never hid his criminal record nor stopped reporting on events in the Region. Times editor Marc Chase believes we should look no further than his record- he stated Lake County would be dragged through the mud thanks to Washington.
In December 2017 editor Marc Chase wrote that Lake County would be dragged through them mud by Washington.
No, that would be Marc Chase dragging us all through it. In January a front page gallery featured over forty articles -on Jamal Washington . Heavy on what the charges should have been for the thuggery, disgraceful, strutting, and convicted wife batterer. (Which borders on libel .) The volume of articles- an average of 130 by various search engines- in one year violates the journalistic ethics Lee Enterprises values. Chase’s has an obsession as large as “but her emails!” Where would Washington’s record appear in Times? Candidates who weren’t covered by in the media continued to use social media , Citizen’s Journalism Northwest Indiana Gazette to discuss issues and provide documents. The Real Deal in Da Region Facebook page is many things- among them differing opinions, legislative updates and meetings in real time, videos of meetings and more. Facebook and social media is powerful– the voices are rising and resistance continues.
Then there was the MeToo insult to LaVetta Sparks-Wade.Please, Stand down, I am not dismissing domestic violence or battery convictions. But this column by Chase:
“Even after we revealed documents of protection orders.. “… Sparks-Wade continues to support Washington. In fact, she’s one of the only Lake County political leaders who still offers him public support.
It’s an affront to women and the prevailing tides of the #MeToo movement”
Let me tell you what’s an affront. Your words, , as a white man to an African American Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks Wade- solely on her friendship and support for Washington. You negated her community work as a councilwoman and her strong voice for clarification on proposals before Gary Common Council. The MeToo started with Tarana Burke , an African American woman. As a leader at a youth camp in 2006. A 12 yr old girl told how she had been raped by her stepfather, At 21, Tarana carried shame from her own rape but couldn’t voice it. Years later she did when whispering to another girl, MeToo- she started JustBE for black and brown girls- and the MeToo began.
The bottom line is, MeToo is empowering for the person who has been assaulted when she reaches out to another. It is not about the perpetrator. It is intentional for marginalized women-and those assaulted to say to other victims- Im here for you. I hear you.
It is not political, it is complicated and it is personal. It’s not anyone else’s place to should on her or shame anyone about her choices.
A free press is to enhance a community, inform a community. It is not to post mug shots with any old story, it is not to influence police action shootings by delving into records of certain individuals and totally omit others names. My intent in this article is to point out the damage done when papers make everything black and white. We need citizen journalists to question everything to call out the stigmatizing of the marginalized and the racial overtones. Last thoughts- I did mention his blog to Councilwoman Sparks-Wade before I wrote this, as well as Councilman Jamal Washington. It is public so I really don’t need too. When it comes to justice issues , everyone needs to speak up – when it comes to being an ally I don’t speak for anyone. I am with them, I believe in honoring the person and not dragging anyone through the mud just because of a free press.
No, it is use a mugshot at all times- no matter what. From yesterday: NWI staff comment: ‘The black guy is like ‘WTF?”
People say have a sense of humor? In February Publisher Chris White said he would share concerns about mugshots with the editors- This article uses the mugshot of the deceased victim, not the suspect,
Please note– earlier versions did not sync with social media posts- resulting in formatting and content issues. This has been corrected- MES