Many of you call on me from time to time to answer questions about police procedure and all things related. To do so, I typically draw on my own personal experience and training, and the knowledge acquired through first-hand encounters over the years.
When I respond to such inquiries, and when writing this blog, teaching workshops, etc., one thing I never do is present inaccurate information, especially something that’s intended to sway a writer’s opinion, feelings, or the outcome of a book. I offer fact. I provide fact. This blog is a factual collection of, well, facts.
The same is true in law enforcement. Embellishing a police report to make things seem in favor of one party over another, or to skew how something happened to cover a particularly unfavorable fact, is wrong. Therefore, it’s not supposed to be done. If so, well, there’s termination and possible time before a judge and/or behind bars.
We tell our children to always be truthful. To do otherwise would be wrong, right? That’s what we teach our kids, right? TELL THE TRUTH!!!
Lies hurt people.
Lies are wrong.
Enter today’s media.
Someone should teach them how to report actual fact. Imagine today’s reporter standing at the mic during a spelling bee …
Moderator – “Mr. Wouldn’tknowthetruthifitbithimonthebutt, your word is NEWS. Please use the 2017 definition.”
“News. Um … something somebody tells you and, um … no matter what it is you must believe it. Then, when passing along the information, you are, um … free to make up crap and insert it into the “news.” And so on. That’s what we do—open our mouths and crap falls out. News.”
I know, and I apologize. The microphone was a bit crudely drawn. Other than than … pretty much on the money.
So, to avoid overdosing on fake news, here’s a handy recipe. I hope it helps.
Truth in the News, a Recipe
Step One – Read “news” from all media sources.
Step Two – Try really hard to find eight or ten somewhat
credible not too outlandish reports that seem to repeat similar bits and pieces of things you think could be true, good or not.
Step Three – Write down those “could-be-true” items, if any.
Step Four – Compare “could-be-true” stuff. Again, if any.
Step Five – Whittle down the list to the three stories that seem most believable.
Step Six – Thumbtack the three best stories to the family dartboard.
Step Seven – Close your eyes and toss a dart at the board.
Step Eight – Whichever story struck by the dart is the go-to “real news” story for the day. Don’t worry, it will soon change so be sure to keep plenty of paper and sharpened darts handy.
Step Nine – This one is important – Please, please, please, try not to allow emotion to control how a media report is perceived simply because it contains words you like/something you’d like to believe.
Wait for facts from a trusted source, not one that’s pushing an agenda, even if that agenda is one you favor. Yes, today’s media is, believe it or not, agenda driven.
Remember, things are not always as they appear. Take a breath. Step back. Do a bit of research.
Finally, in today’s Wild West shootout-type coverage of almost any topic, it’s certainly best to not read one “news” source merely because they’re “on your side.” It’s not a healthy approach in today’s climate of “Us Against Them.”