Reporters Taking Down Reporters

This is sad. Predictable, but sad. 

 We are part of a coalition of organizations that meets regularly with the Chicago Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit and individuals from its general counsel’s office. We worked with both over the course of more than a year to have this general order changed so that arrestees could access counsel at the facility.

I guess when the Chicago Police Department issued a statement even skeptical lawyers “found laughable” they didn’t check with their Internal Affairs Division or General Counsel’s Office.

That’s how I know the Guardian story is true. But local reporters who weren’t interested in this story when the hiding of suspects at Homan Square was at its height should find out for themselves. And by find out, I mean actually report the story before concluding that it’s simply not possible that they blew it.

This seems to be a recent thing, too. Reporters are competitive, jealous babies and to save face or make themselves feel better will totally go to their editors all WE WEREN’T SCOOPED THAT ISN’T EVEN A STORY WHATEVER MAN. But the idea that a story isn’t worth covering because the reporter who broke it is a douchebag or the outlet he works for is somehow beneath them, that’s something new. 

 First the problem was that it couldn’t be happening or our local reporters – who had been told it was happening and passed on the story – would know. Now it’s that everyone knows it’s happening, but it’s not happening at Homan but all over the city. So it’s happening everywhere except where the Guardian reported! Therefore, not a story.

Except the corroborating evidence shows it is happening at Homan. And the Guardian did report in its original story – there have been four or five, none of which local reporters seem to have read – that it was also happening all over the city. The problem is particularly egregious, though, at Homan because it’s off-the-books. That’s the point.

I’ve had reporters jump all over stories I’ve broken and it’s gratifying because it means more’s going to get done. No matter how good you are or how far ahead you are, 50 people working something means 50 times the effort going into finding out lies and bullshit and exposing them. Which in a good cause like, say, telling people about a secret torture program by US cops, is a good thing.

To go all local-loyalty power-humping is just depressing and in the Internet age it doesn’t discourage or diminish the original story. It just makes you look like a petty bitch. Then again, this is the town where a newspaper endorsed the candidate who tried to get its reporter fired, so I guess loyalty within the trade is a lot to ask.

A.

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