No Propaganda: Corporate Media Shouldn’t Serve as Public Relations Firms for the Police

NYPD. Photo Joi Ito, Wikimedia Commons 
On June 1, I wrote a commentary with 10 suggested policy changes–most are not new– that must be instituted as part of police reform following the brutal murder of George Floyd. One of the changes I proposed was an end of the use of the public information units in Police departments to feed lies to the public through less than discerning media outlets.
I’m happy to see that The Washington Post has just published an article on the same subject, under the headline “Journalists are reexamining their reliance on a longtime source…”
Let me excerpt from my June 1 commentary:
“When Eric Garner was killed on July 17, 2014, the first article about the incident published in The New York Times was based on a spin job by the NYPD. It referred to Garner’s weight as over 300 pounds. There was absolutely no mention of the chokehold. Under the headline ‘Staten Island Man Dies After Police Try to Arrest Him,’ the Times story read: ‘A Staten Island man died on Thursday after police officers tried to arrest him on the street not far from the Staten Island Ferry, the police said. The man, Eric Garner, 43, went into cardiac arrest as he was being placed into custody around 4:45 p.m. on Bay Street, across from Tompkinsville Park, the police said. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Richmond University Medical Center on Staten Island…’ published an editorial condemning the Times for parroting the NYPD spin job. That editorial was eventually deleted from our website by some hacker. We’ve always wondered who was behind that hack. (We’ve also wondered who was behind the deletion from our website of several other editorials including one critical of the NATO war on Libya–which war the Times fully supported–and one critical of the KONY2012 U.S.-coordinated propaganda campaign). 
Had the video not emerged showing Pantaleo lynching Garner with his arm, the NYPD initial spin job would have carried the day. Pantaleo might have gone on to kill a few more Black folk. Police departments must not get away with disseminating false information. How many executions of innocent Black people by police officers like Pantaleo and Chauvin throughout the U.S., historically, have been buried by such spin jobs?”
There is very little for me to add to my original commentary above.
I do have one suggestion though for major corporate media outlets including The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Have your editors and reporters work together to revisit past stories that seemed questionable but where in the end you decided to go with the police version of the narrative.
There may be many victims out there whose families deserve the truth. Justice delayed is better than justice denied.
There is one such New York case that we will discuss soon on The Black Star News.
Note: Readers if you have documentation about stories that have been misreported in the past based on police spin and propaganda contact [email protected] or [email protected] Follow me @allimadi

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