Behind the Times in NWI- Stop the press

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.

Other examples:

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

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