The below email (or a variation thereof) went out to top news reporters today.
Reporters who specifically report on media.
These reporters are with the old school New York Times, Baltimore Sun, NPR, Washington Post etc.; to newish (Gawker) Buzzfeed, Daily Caller, and many others.
However, I don’t expect a response because the title of this blog is
It is not, “Journalism and the Courts.”
Meaning, if you believe you’re getting full, fair, and accurate coverage,
I cordially invite you to rethink that idea, after reading my email below.
– – – – –
“My name is Bonnie Russell, and I am a independent news researcher, as well as a, “no hype” legal publicist. (It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.”)
Am writing about the problem concerning the Houston media relating to Sandra Bland coverage.
Specifically, was disappointed to discover Houston NBC reporter Keith Garvin was played, regarding his interview with Paul Looney, the “independent” investigator concerning the death of Sandra Bland.
Looney’s firm actually represents a giant, conflict-of-interest, Because of their business relationship with Judge Trey Duhon…not mentioned during the interview.
Originally, my thought was NBC might pull Garvin’s interview, (below) given he was thoroughly played, courtesy of Waller County Administrator, Judge Trey Duhon, as well as attorney Paul Looney. But, in fairness, Garvin contributed to the getting duped by not doing his homework in the first place.
However, when I called NBC to alert them the “Independent” investigators constituted instead, a huge conflict of interest, the assignment editor said,
But that was pretty much, it.
I received no response from Garvin in answer to my email, or tweets.
However, I was even more surprised to discover Houston’s TV competitors decided to institute a “Protect our Peers” zone, by ignoring both the conflict of interest, as well that NBC was played.
Also, print media. Including the rather incredulous editor at the City Desk of the Houston Chronicle, who seemingly annoyed by my call, demanded,
“Well, how do you know this stuff if you’re in San Diego?”
(Am guessing he hasn’t yet heard of the internet.)
So this brings new meaning to: “Houston, we have a problem.”
Shouldn’t someone in media be interested that Waller County is playing media along with the public, with a media, assist?
Thanks for your time. Hope you find this useful!“
– – – – –
I did speak with Terri Langford of the Texas Tribune, who briefly made a mention of the second investigation in one of her reports. However, when I went to recheck, the brief mention of the second report was missing. Beats me, why.
So what was true then, remains. While many outlets covered Sheriff Smith‘s calling for an “independent” investigation – including quoting the ever chatty, always bustling about, Judge Duhon, not a one covered the very clear, conflict-of-interest.
Last, I should mention my tips to reporters (some on behalf of individual clients) have produced exposes, arrests and successful prosecutions, as well as legal and general magazine cover stories, and congressional staffers looking for information, since 2001. Am not a newbie.
Okay. To wrap it up, sometimes people have to be encouraged/motivated to do their job.
Feel free to send below to your local reporters. Otherwise, “Mums the word!” 🙂
Oh, btw… her daughter commented on the Dallas blog. Interesting & fair statement.
Links if you want to follow up:
Stop & Yank Video (refresh your memory): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9ZLNDRq7sU
Dallas News Blog (petition): http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2014/08/grandmother-in-her-70s-yanked-out-of-car-by-keene-police-officer-in-2012-sues-in-dallas-federal-court.html/
Case Settled: https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/4301057/Bedford_v_City_of_Keene_et_al
Will go check it out. Thanks!
Speaking of how quick public outrage moves along… do you remember when an elderly woman was jerked out of her car by a small-town cop in Keene, TX back in 2012? He – Sgt. Gene Geheb – stopped her for speeding, but she was just too slow to produce ID, and… like Sandra Bland… showed him a bit of disrespect. Lynn Bedford, a white, 77 yr old woman, was in a hurry due to a bladder infection & didn’t contest that she was speeding. She just wanted the cop to know why she was in such a hurry, but instead he got angry, jerked her out & to the ground – all within 30 seconds of getting out of his squad car! He handcuffed her, told her she was going to jail & put her in back of his squad car. His supervisor came & subsequently released her. Her granddaughter uploaded video taken from dash/body cams after it happened, which garnered public attention & outrage that lasted about as long as the Stop & Yank did.
Lynn Bedford sued the town & the cop in federal court last August when she didn’t get even an apology after 2 years. The same attorney represented both cop & town. Her case was reported on when filed but not when settled 2 months later. Funny thing about that video living on. Shhhhh…..
LOL! Bonnie, you must be kidding if you truly think ANY reporters where I live give a ratz azz what happens in Waller County, TX now that the wind has blown on it’s way to other ‘juicy’ news… like, let’s see… oh, yea! There’s that young ‘kid’ cop working for U. of Cincinnati who’s been charged with murder for shooting an unarmed black MAN just for “chicken crap” – no license plate on the FRONT of his car – in broad daylight, then lied about it & got his buddies to lie, too. Now that’s BIG news & poor Sandra is old news now. So much for the shelf life of public outrage.
And yet, I remain focused. 🙂