The media must regain its’ professionalism, and soon. “Clickbait” headlines sensationalize every story, articles are filled with inaccuracies, TV hosts and commentators allow politicians and guests to spew blatant lies, without so much as a raised eyebrow. And in our Social media world, these damaging words are tweeted and shared with wild abandon.
Naive folks see the name of CNN or MSNBC, etc. and assume it is truth or at the very least verified by a few sources.
But what is often reported is not verified. And it is damaging by creating fear and suspicion.
I’m not talking the GOP debate. Look at the tragic death of Fox Lake IL Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz, who was shot and died September 1st. As of this writing, there is no determination of the circumstances on how he was shot- homicide-suicide/accident. None. But the media has plastered and spun such a web of inaccuracies that the truth will be hard to find.
One can always expect exaggeration and distortion on twitter and FB- where everyone and their cat has an account and an opinion. Of bigger concern is the Mainstream media—the professional anchors/reporters/ hosts. They continue to inflame the public with inaccurate headlines- even 2 weeks after the true facts are known.
I’m betting most people don’t know the facts but still think the death of this policeman was the result of an active foot pursuit of 3 men, one of whom shot the officer in cold blood and took his weapon. After all, the FBI and agencies came in for a manhunt for days.
But here are the facts, without the hype. At 7:52 AM Officer Glineiewicz radioed in that he was “checking on two male white, male black, uh, by the equipment south of Honing.”
Dispatch asked if he wanted back up and he responded “negative.”
Three minutes later he radioed in “They took off for the swamp”.
When asked if he wants a second Unit he says :”Yeah, now go ahead and start somebody”
The radio transmission, found here, is hardly the frantic call for backup during an active foot pursuit the media reported.
And for some reason, I will say emotion, the first officers who arrived and then found his body after 8 minutes and sent out false information.
There was this dispatch “ Officer safety man with a gun. Area 128 Honing in Fox Lake. ..107 There is a male white and male black that fled from the scene taking the officer’s side arm and pepper spray”
And that was known to be false within hours. The gun and pepper spray were there, and no other officer has reported seeing any suspects.
The spin was in, the headlines flew, and no-one bothered to check. Even when within days when the radio transmission came public. Listen to the calls and you will hear there was no active foot pursuit , no frantic call for backup. Yes, he was going to follow the suspects he described, and he agreed for backup. There is a huge difference between an active foot pursuit and a call for backup by the officer, and what was radioed here.
Why does this matter? Because the media continues to run with this, and that spawned stories of targeting police, memes galore using photos of murdered black lives at the hands of police, manhunts and theories.
It matters because we used to be able to trust what was reported by media. Major news anchors and networks had credibility. Not only were there reports accurate, but news anchors would not remain silent when their guests or politicians spewed lies.
They need to remain professional, not political, Allowing politicians to yammer on with baseless rumors regarding Planned Parenthood, religious freedom violations, and racism has become common– professionals would challenge blatant lies. Silence is acceptance.
It matters because when media reports erroneous details, or blindly retweets and quotes another source without verification, it creates fear and mistrust and division. The deaths are tragic enough. They do not need to be sensationalized embellished by media hungry for more viewers.