‘Media Day’ Invites Journos to Experience Police Work

‘Media Day’ Invites Journos to Experience Police Work

By Stephen Owsinski

Given the incessant maligning of cops and ignorance of facts by many members of the media, several employees of various news organizations in Florida were invited by law enforcement personnel who took the time to expose the realities of police work to journalists.

It is no secret that the law enforcement community has been in the crosshairs of mainstream media. All too often, we have seen slanderous, baseless accusations against our men and women wearing public safety uniforms.

Police officials are always pushing to the frontlines, quite often badgered by reporters salivating for a salacious scoop and/or pouncing on a minuscule misstep (as if cops are prophetically perfect). Media personnel may tend to bend, twist, wrinkle, and distort facts to suit whatever marching-order false narrative they’ve been tasked with spreading.

Here is a brief video of a recent presser held by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office top cop T.K. Waters, discussing violence against police. Pay close attention to a seeming rant (@23:53) from one of the members of the media in the audience, questioning some things about JSO members, and how Sheriff Waters handles it:

Here is another example of Sheriff Waters fielding a reporter’s question (@3:00), one with relevance to why deadly force was used by police officers that resulted in the fatality of a wanted fugitive known to be violent:

A commenter replying to that footage had the following to say: “Love how the media always try to spin it that the cops are the villain. Great job sheriff for stepping up to shut that narrative down about not needing to wait until fired upon.”

Various polls have indicated that a majority of Americans do not trust the media, citing bias as the main reason. In August 2020, a headline read: “Gallup poll finds 84% of Americans say media to blame for political US divide.”

Per a YouGov report in April 2022, The Weather Channel came out on top, touted as the most trustworthy news outlet. That does not sound like it bodes well for all other media networks.

In February 2023, Fortune published a piece unambiguously titled, “Trust in media is so low that half of Americans now believe that news organizations deliberately mislead them,” their reporting material was derived from a Gallup poll.

“More than half of Americans polled (54 percent) say they believe reporters are ‘misrepresenting the facts’ and another 28 percent believe reporters are ‘making [facts] up entirely.’ More than three-quarters (78 percent) of Americans believe ‘misinformation’ that is shared on social media is ‘the leading problem with news today’,” wrote Fox News reporter Joseph Wulfsohn.

Orange man bad surely rings a bell.

Linley Sanders wrote, “The most politically polarizing media outlet is CNN” and that “Democrats, generally, are more trusting of any mainstream news outlet.”

Politically polarizingDemocrats…and mainstream news outlets. One common theme regarding any of these variables is the constancy of painting police in a very bad light…even when outcomes are glaringly glorious.

Cops are the problem! became the pitiful mantra of viewer-swaying journos. That unleashed brazen behaviors directed at our nation’s police personnel. Utter disrespect flung at law enforcement officers pervaded society. On unabated criminality? Mums the word from many media figures.

Quick to judge are those with no scintilla of law enforcement experience. It gets stale quickly, perhaps leading critically-thinking folks to lean toward The Weather Channel.

A study conducted by the Knight Foundation found that “Americans suspect inaccuracies in reporting are designed to push a specific agenda” and that “Local news plays a key role in political and civic engagement.”

Even local news stations are answerable to the larger corporate complex that owns them.

Media Day

Ever resourceful and open to mature debate and explaining the Who, What, Where, Why, and How of police work, local cops invited geographically-close reporters to a pseudo-Open House they dubbed “Media Day,” exposing journalists to the realities of police work and the heavy wares they must haul around daily, whether during foot pursuits, scaling walls and fences…you name it.

The Sarasota Police Department hosted a contingent of journalists from different Tampa Bay area media outlets and exposed them to what police culture is like and how cops endure a duty day in a world rife with unknowns, many of which are unpleasant.

Before April 2023 wrapped up, sworn members of the Sarasota police force highlighted “training and response to resistance techniques” employed by officers so that “reporters, assignment editors, producers, editors, writers, photographers, videographers, digital editors, and other newsroom employees” could get their feet wet in all-things-law-enforcement.

“Journalists from @heraldtribune@snn.tv, and @mysuncoast joined and had an opportunity to participate in a defensive tactics scenario where they tried to arrest someone who was resisting without fighting, shooting scenarios in a simulator machine, and they finished the morning conducting mock traffic stops where journalists played the role of police officers,” wrote a Sarasota PD spokesperson.

(Photo courtesy of the Sarasota Police Department.)

“Journalists also had an opportunity to try on equipment police officers wear, including ballistic vests and duty belts with all the equipment an officer would carry on patrol.”

(Photo courtesy of the Sarasota Police Department.) 

Given all the guff against cops, largely perpetuated by blatantly biased reporting and tall tales painting police as not good for society (absolute headscratcher), it is at least a step in the direction of media members comprehending the various dynamics and nuances in law enforcement practices.

Pretty much all polls denote distrust of media mavens. Perhaps the “Media Day” program could take root in other law enforcement agencies, catalyzing the truth about the rigors and dangers of cops feverishly trying to quell widespread criminality.

The anarchy and barbarism imposed by malcontents must be reported with deserved intensity. Heck, journos’ false narratives scapegoating cops didn’t seem to lose steam. Enough is enough!

Akin to ride-alongs and Citizens Police Academy events, getting a taste of police work can go a long way.

So, we have Media Day. Perhaps we can also see Lawmakers Day so that legislators keen on defunding the police can get a crash course in public safety, a dose of reality, and assistance with the truth of society’s matters mitigated by men and women in uniform.