Reversal of wrongful actions

Mainstream media exaggerates law enforcement stories

Elizabeth Chapa
Online Editor

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 12:  Demonstrators protesting the killings of 18-year-olds Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri Police officer and Vonderrit Myers Jr. by an off duty St. Louis police officer are confronted by police wearing riot gear on October 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis area has been struggling to heal since riots erupted in suburban Ferguson following Brown's death.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **

ST LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 12: Demonstrators protesting the killings of 18-year-olds Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri Police officer and Vonderrit Myers Jr. by an off duty St. Louis police officer are confronted by police wearing riot gear on October 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis area has been struggling to heal since riots erupted in suburban Ferguson following Brown’s death. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) ** OUTS – ELSENT, FPG – OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **

Recently, the exposure of law enforcement’s actions to the public has become a trend for the media. It seems as though the media is blinding viewers and readers to other problems that are occurring every day, simply by propelling topics like police brutality out of proportion when reporting.

The most recent unjust rep for law enforcement started in November 2014 with the Ferguson, Missouri riots. The event of someone getting shot by another person is always a possibility, whether it is an officer or a civilian. In certain cases when there is shooting towards police officers, the police officer is trained to defend and shoot back; which was exactly what happened. The difference was that the victim, according to eyewitnesses, supposedly put his hands up and was fatally shot 12 times.

This event started a chain of riots and social media rants, along with sparking the media to expose situations similar to this case. People were bringing up similar past events after Ferguson made an impact in the media, along with tweets and posts on various social media platforms sharing offensive, spiteful comments about the shootings, resulting in a chain reaction of responses every time a similar situation occurred. The end result of all of this is the media placing a disproportionate focus on one type of story, taking away from larger scale problems occurring around the country.

What people need to realize is that not all police officers are horrible people. One relies on law enforcement to save them from trouble, but as soon as the media blows a story and angle out of proportion, all police officers get a reputation of being heartless people and are no longer trusted by the public.

USA Today shared an article on Dec. 21, 2014 about two NYPD officers who were ambushed and killed execution style in the line of duty in retaliation for the Ferguson shooting. At this time, not only were police officers threatened when this was going viral, but the families of police officers were also receiving threats.

This really hit home for me, as my father was a Detroit Police Department (DPD) officer and told me, “Don’t tell people your dad is a cop because they’re threatening families of officers.”

When stories follow the similar pattern of this law enforcement versus civilians’ mindset, the media will be all over it. However, people must know that the angle used is one-sided. This one-sided perspective is taking the place of other important news-worthy stories to be shared because it is a way for the media to get readers/ viewers’ attention and gain viewership.

Also, when the media shares a story, they do not correct it if they falsely inform people. Relating back to the Ferguson shooting, facts that were shared by the media were mostly assumptions and based on witnesses accounts, not what actually happened. This shows the media jumps at the possibility of getting people’s attention instead of accurately informing.

It is wrong that the media uses trending topics to blind those who genuinely want to be informed of valuable news. Viewers are fed notions, because the media knows it will stir viewers’ curiosity and get them to come back to their station for more news, which equals more views, thus more money.

The stories being reported should not be used as a way to get people’s viewership, or to present a biased perspective. They need to stick to the facts and stop blinding America with their hand-picked stories. News sources need to take it upon themselves to be more respectful and actually share non-biased news without being centered on getting hits by exaggerating stories. It is wrong that they withhold information that everyone should know.

The shameful action of putting law enforcement in the light of negativity due to the media exaggerating a situation needs to be put to rest.