Monday, January 12, 2015

Police Work

All policemen, at one time or another, have to deal with the press.  The press and the cops jobs often intersect, and it is the rare police officer who hasn't at one time or another, been photographed or interviewed in the line of work.  Elected Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police are especially susceptible to being quoted in the local fish-wrapper, and mistakes happen, though this one is the worst I've ever seen.

I once lived and shopped in Hardin County, Kentucky.  The county seat is Elizabethtown, and the local paper there was interviewing the Sheriff, when this regrettable quote was garbled.   Ward says he stated in an interview that police officers go into that line of work “because they have a desire to serve the community.”  But, somehow, that's not how the quote showed up in the paper.
“Those who go into the law enforcement profession typically do it because they have a desire to shoot minorities,” the Elizabethtown News-Enterprise quoted John Ward as saying.
Somehow, I'd say that was a misquote. To the paper's credit, they've issued a full retraction, and taken full credit for the mistake.
A retraction and apology has been printed Friday on Page A1. As community members and neighbors, we feel it is important to repeat this apology again publicly to Sheriff John Ward, the entire law enforcement community and to you, our readers. We share the outrage and disgust expressed by many of you. Internally, the newspaper leadership spent yesterday researching this error, discovering the form it took and taking corrective action. As a result, the two people involved were fired.
The editor goes on to say that he understands that the credibility of the newspaper is at issue, and that the trust they've spend years earning was lost with one horrible mistake, but ...
It takes years to develop trust. It takes only seconds to destroy it.
We understand our credibility may be called into question but the sheriff should not be subjected to the same scrutiny.
 That's the way to make an apology and retraction.  I hope that the the Elizabethtown n News-Enterprise can recover from this mistake.


Old NFO said...

Good for them!

Anonymous said...

Very brave publisher. That would have not happened in any of the fishwrappers hereabouts. The retraction would have been printed inside, maybe on the inside of the Business section. Another 15% would drop their subscriptions, and my rate would go up again....