Yes. Big scoop coming. Sadly, it shouldn’t be a scoop, at all. Here’s why.
This column is called “Media and the Courts” not “Journalism and the Courts” for the very good reason after media successfully worked to eliminate the Fairness Doctrine, the critical, who, what, where, how, and why, basic elements of journalism; took their leave.
How this impacts the individual is in relation to the judges they or family members might appear before…after having no awareness of which candidate they might want to vote for or against during an election year.
However, judicial elections are generally relegated to a passing mention in newspaper articles after elections, with one or two people complaining,
“I skipped it because I didn’t know who the candidates are.”
Folks, a lack of voters awareness of judicial candidates is by design, not accident.
Two quick examples
A national outcry even reached England’s shores after it was reported former Indiana University student and Delta Tau Delta frat rat John Enochs, who benefited after two rape charges morphed into, to a Class A Misdemeanor, for which he pleaded “guilty.”
Not one media outlet identified the sentencing judge who ordered Probation. Nope.
So I will. Because, journalism. John P. Enochs sentencing judge was Monroe County, Division II judge, Marc R. Kellams.
A little about Judge Kellams. He’s a Republican and a Catholic and once said,
“Fortunately my judicial responsibilities as a criminal court judge do not include actions that force me into ethical dilemmas.”
Long didn’t identify Judge Kellams. However, Long has this to say about producing news.
“I feel like this position is absolutely perfect for me, as I am a web junkie! I don’t think there is a single hour in the day that I’m not doing SOMETHING online, whether it be at work, at home on my laptop, or on my Blackberry. Also a self-described newsie, I’m so excited to see how we can use technology to help keep you informed!”
Note the tags in Longs story.
Nothing about the Judge is even in the tags. But Long’s piece does explain how reporters and news producers no longer produce news – but are “content providers” Seemingly whose purpose is to gin up previously reported stories without adding new information.
In other words, news spam for readers who may or may not notice critical information is missing.
Last night I telephoned @FOX59 as they were local….as the Fox59 report on John Enochs sentencing was inserted into what many might believe was the IndyStar – once a reputable paper was produced by Digital Producer Greg Margason.
When I inquired who the judge was having not as seen his or her name in a single newspaper, radio, or digitally produced television news report, the Producer replied without an iota of irony,
“That was a national story which we ran from KTLA.”
That’s CBS Los Angeles, folks. As in California.
Not one person local news outlet in Indiana, identified the sentencing judge. But wait, it gets better! John Enochs is from Downers Grove, Illinois.
Don’t get excited. Behold, from the Chicago Tribune.
Note this is from Tribune News Service. Key word, “service.”
Please note the “contact the reporter” link. To anyone thinking “Yay, a real live reporter — nope. This is what happens.
How is digital spam killing journalism while keeping voters in the dark?
By magic! It’s called, The illusion of choice.
Wait. Media companies making billions much reporting of the same story with no new information — and no one identified the judge?
As mentioned at the beginning…..this is by design, not accident.
Unless people demand accountability, expect non-informational, digital spam minus basic facts, to continue.
Digital spam is how media bias eliminates critical elements journalism. And then on a larger scale, this happens.
Can we change this?
We can! Lets take it one step at a time. To assist ending the practice of media not identifying judges, please post this column to your Facebook page along with a request at least three friends contact their local media outlet with the specific request that coverage for all future cases to identify the judges in their opening paragraph.
Sure it’s a Presidential Election year. But local elections matter; and the only intelligent voter is an informed one.
Also, and pragmatically, if newspapers and television want us to pay for their product, we really must insist the elemental basics of journalism be included.
Especially in the case of judicial officers. These would be the same judicial officers we, the public appear before; be they civil, probate, family or criminal. Therefore media outlets claiming to deliver breaking and important news stories can no longer omit the important WHO, in the case of judicial officers, for those before the court. This is truly, a basic part of news reporting.
Individuals who commit to notifying their local newspaper, radio or television station, that they require this information, will grow to reform media…and revive journalism.
Thanks. Tomorrow – a new shocker in the Brandon Vandenburg case!