Police-Supporting Journalists of Good Rapport

Police-Supporting Journalists of Good Rapport

By Stephen Owsinski

With all the ongoing legacy media being rightly criticized for biased journalism, for openly barking falsities about those who serve in the law enforcement community, it is befitting to highlight those reporters who pillar police work and the heroes who carry it out against all odds.

On January 5, 2024, the New York City Police Detectives’ Endowment Association (DEA) honored a decades-long-serving NYC-based reporter for her unwavering support of the Big Apple’s men and women in blue who fight the good fight in a severely anti-police climate.

WPIX 11 News, a New York City news outlet I watched throughout my existence while growing up in Gotham, saw one of its career reporters submit retirement papers and disconnect from the airwaves…one last time.

“The DEA congratulates Mary Murphy of PIX 11 News on her retirement and 40-year career of excellence. The union is grateful for her constant support and important coverage of issues that affect NYPD Detectives and public safety. We salute you, Mary!” (Notice the Thin Blue Line color scheme she is wearing in our cover photo.)

That was a statement posted by the leadership overseeing the NYPD’s cadre of detectives that somehow continuously manage to juggle many cases beyond the borders of horrific, nevertheless taking the time to honor someone who is in their corner. Anyone conveying absolute truth behind the gruesome crime scenes has a place at the police table, and a well-deserved cake to hallmark the sendoff.

(Photo courtesy of the NYC Detectives’ Endowment Association.)

Speaking of bias, I can be ripe with it, especially when it comes to how NYPD members extend gratitude and lavish accolades upon those who bolster the public safety mission in a metropolis openly out of control, with poisonous politics at the core.

After reporting on NYC news for forty years, one can imagine Mrs. Murphy’s tenure endured the highs and lows in law enforcement…publicizing the peaks and valleys in police work.

On September 11, 2001, and for some years thereafter, she orated countless instances of numerous NYPD cops performing heroic deeds despite the enormous dangers to themselves. Indeed, “It is what they signed up for.” But…who could conceive the abrupt destruction and inexplicable aftermath carried out by barbaric terrorists?

It is a reporter’s objective to get the story and offer details to the viewing audience.

In that context, when journalists possess integrity, gather facts, and treat public servants (first responders) involved in grotesque situations with deserved dignity and robust respect, honor is earned and recognized.

The cover photo up top illustrates the depth of appreciation from members of the nation’s largest municipal police agency —the NYPD— conferring not only a Certificate of Appreciation but also a badge of honor (a literal NYPD detective’s shield) for outstanding work and gratitude for telling truths about crimefighters’ highs and lows.

South of New York City, Tampa, Florida, WFLA News Channel 8 —whose station slogan is “Eight on Your Side”— also has a long-tenured reporter named Keith Cate.

Mr. Cate has been an icon in Tampa Bay news and is a legendary host/emcee presiding over Bay-area law enforcement events such as the annual “Heroes Luncheon,” whereby first responders from various area public safety organizations are recognized and honored for outstanding service to the community.

(Screenshot courtesy of WFLA News Channel 8.)

No one in their right mind is going to tap the likes of former CNN reporter Brian Stelter for such a gig, so that should tell you how Tampa Bay’s communities of first responders feel about Mr. Cate. At one of these Heroes Luncheon events back in 2003 or so, I met him. His firm handshake typified authenticity and his knowledge of and questions about police work signaled someone who has your back and has no intention of abandoning the good fight.

Well before I was sworn in, first serving as a police civilian with the title of “police communications officer” (aka dispatcher), it was common knowledge to be wary of what is said to the media outlets, for fear of having “statements” taken way out of context, severely distorted, often resulting in law enforcement agencies being unduly scrutinized.

Police PIOs (public information officers, most of whom were sworn LEOs) were sent to study police/media relations courses at bona fide schools. Despite PIOs’ deft way of handling overzealous reporters, the latter still twisted the facts to suit a salacious narrative, put into print, with nary a retraction or walk-back (once police agencies corrected the record on behalf of journos’ integrity lapses).

Nowadays, it is rare to see/hear a PIO providing information to the media. Typically, police chiefs and county sheriffs address crimes and programs for media mobs to record and repeat verbatim. In recency, law enforcement leaders have not been shy about rebuking a reporter or two for being obnoxious or arrogant. Stupid questions? Well, police figureheads have a certain stare, in repose, while the tale-chasing inquirer shrinks in silence. No answer is still an answer, eh?

Therefore, reporters such as those highlighted herein are held in high esteem for getting it right by preserving fact-based information and delivering it without bias, dilution, or untruths.  

In 2013, Cate said this to a packed house of first responders and guests: “A room full of heroes. Proud to be a part of today’s ASIS Law Enforcement and Security Officers Awards Luncheon” in support of “the men and women who keep us safe.” There’s a valid reason he is invited to preside over public safety events honoring heroes—anti-police legacy media moguls need not apply.

Criss-crossing the nation and focusing on the Pacific Northwest region, where liberalism roots deeply and anti-cop mentality is fever-pitch, Jason Rantz rants in favor of law enforcement and how repulsive politics endangered the environment, cloning minions who have made policing absurdly even harder and much more perilous.

Mr. Rantz, an author and Seattle-based KTTH radio personality, offered pro-police insights as a guest on the National Police Association’s “NPA Report” hosted by retired police Sgt. Betsy Brantner-Smith, ardently defending police and blasting their daft defunders.

Mr. Rantz has been unrelenting in his quest to tell the story about how radical policies of politicos and feeble damage control have endangered not only cops but the people they serve, in his region and others just like it (leftist enclaves).

Despite the seemingly overwhelming anti-cop noise emanating from largely liberal media conduits pushing propaganda and slanted stories about police services, making first responders’ roles much more challenging and life-threatening, there are integrity-embracing reporters countering all the needless brouhaha and unwarranted mayhem in society by exposing broad background details to help comprehend what cops endure.

So, yes, unicorns among media reporters do exist…and we remain grateful to them for their pro-police voices catering fact-based nuances about the stark reality of law enforcement to the critical-thinking minds of citizens like you.