Tuned In

David Simon Goes Back on the Cops Beat

  • Share
  • Read Later

This is what happens when a pugnacious old police reporter finishes his TV show and has some time on his hands. David Simon, frustrated with the reporting follow-up to a police shooting in Baltimore, followed up with the cops on his own. He says he found—true to The Wire—”half-truths, obfuscations and apparent deceit,” and a local press too gutted to expose them (h/t Romenesko): 

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.

I didn’t trip over a herd of hungry Sun reporters either, but that’s the point. In an American city, a police officer with the authority to take human life can now do so in the shadows, while his higher-ups can claim that this is necessary not to avoid public accountability, but to mitigate against a nonexistent wave of threats. And the last remaining daily newspaper in town no longer has the manpower, the expertise or the institutional memory to challenge any of it.

Doing more with less? Looks like doing less with less. Read the rest of Simon’s account here.